As we move deeper into winter, we’re big fans of snuggling indoors with a hearty bowl of veggie-tastic soup. Whilst everyone else is sniffling their way through the cold, we like to ward off any nasties with wholesome veggies. Did you know that every different coloured vegetable represents a different phytonutrient? This hearty bowl of soup contains green beans, red tomatoes, orange carrots, brown onions and white leeks. BOOM!
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Red Split Lentils
Chicken Stock Pot
Prepare your veggies! Peel and chop your onion into roughly 1cm cubes, slice your leek in half lengthways then slice finely into half moons, do the same with your carrot. Slice half your bacon rashers into 1cm wide strips.
Pop 1½ tbsp of olive oil (or even better a knob of butter if you have some!) in a large pot on a medium-low heat. Throw in the onion, leek, carrot and bacon strips and leave to sweat for 10 mins uncovered until everything softens, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, boil 1400ml of water in your kettle or in a pot and pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees. Now chop the tomatoes in half, chop the tops and bottoms off the green beans (this is called top and tailing!) and then chop them in half.
Once the onion, leek, carrot and bacon have sweated for 10 mins, add the lentils, green beans, tomatoes, stock pot, ¼ tsp of salt, a good grind of pepper and the 1400ml of boiling water. Turn up the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and leave to simmer for 20 mins in total.
Whilst the soup is simmering, remove any tough stems from the cavolo nero, roughly chop and set aside.
Now it’s time to make your bacon gremolata! Chop the remaining bacon rashers into small cubes (roughly 1cm), and juice your lemon. Heat ½ tbsp of oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the bacon. Fry the bacon for 5 mins (or longer if it is still not nicely browned and crispy!), stirring continuously to prevent burning. Now add your breadcrumbs to the frying pan, add an additional tbsp of oil and stir for 30 seconds. Squeeze in 1 tbsp of lemon juice, stir quickly and take off the heat. Transfer your bacon gremolata to a separate dish (to prevent carry-over cooking) and set aside.
Once your soup has simmered for 20 mins, remove the lid from the pot, stir in the cavolo nero and let it wilt for 2 mins. You can also pop your focaccia into the oven to warm through for 3-5 mins.
Pop the soup into bowls, top with the bacon gremolata and serve with a piece of focaccia on the side.