Tuscan White Bean and Tomato Soup

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This delicious vegetarian Tuscan style soup is a genuine one-pot wonder.  White beans, tomatoes, kale and parmesan with a little kick of chilli, it is a weekly staple in our house.  OK, the kids don’t love it but sometimes it is only the adults in our house that I am aiming to please and if I dish it up to the kids often enough, eventually they will love it as much as me…(won’t they?)  Sometimes when I serve them a dinner they don’t like and they say to me “Mumyyyyyy…I don’t like this” I say to them “Really??  Last time we had this you loved it.  You don’t remember??  You ate it all and said it was yummy”. Yep a simple hoodwink can sometimes get me across the line – sometimes not.

If you make the whole quantity there should be enough for dinner and leftovers for the freezer for the times that you just can’t be bothered to make anything for lunch (my everyday scenario).

You also have a choice with this soup whether you want it to be slightly creamy with the addition of the parmesan rind.  Without the parmesan rind the soup has a more distinct clean tomato flavour.  So have a play around with the recipe and find your favourite version.  Either way the addition of the lemon parsley oil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan on the top when you are serving completes this soup perfectly.

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Tuscan White Bean and Tomato Soup

recipe adapted from Hemsley & Hemsley
Serves 4

2 carrots, finely diced
2 onions, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of dried oregano
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of tomatoes
800ml stock (I’m going to leave the choice of stock up to you – I usually use chicken.  The Hemsley sisters always use bone broth.  You could use vegetable stock as well).
large handful of kale, finely sliced
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
a Parmesan rind to flavour the soup (optional)

Lemon Parsley Oil

large handful of freshly chopped parsley
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Good handful of grated parmesan, to serve

Heat some olive oil in a saucepan with a lid over a low heat and gently sauté the onions, carrots and celery.  Add the bay leaf, garlic and dried herbs and chilli and cook for a couple of minutes.  Pour in the stock and add the parmesan rind if using.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat immediately and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the rinsed and drained beans and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  At the end of the cooking, add the finely sliced kale and leave to simmer for an extra couple of minutes until softened (if you plan on having leftovers then don’t include the kale at this point – just put it in the bowl when you serve and the heat of the soup will soften it without cooking it).  I’ve found that the kale isn’t nice when it’s reheated in leftovers.

To make the lemon parsley oil, whisk all the ingredients together.

To serve, remove the bay leaf and parmesan rind (if using).  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with lemon parsley oil and a good sprinkling of grated parmesan.  Enjoy (…and don’t forget to tell the kids how much they loved it the last time they ate it)