It's been so cold today, even Jasper didn't complain at having to wear a woolly jumper.
We went to the shops and picked up a huge bag of kale and I was reminded that cheap food can be both beautiful and nourishing. Kale is everywhere at the moment so buy some while the taste is at it's best.
I've pared the kale with farro; a nutty, unassuming sort of grain which is the perfect 'filler' in a winter soup like this one. The farro is cooked in chicken stock for slightly more punchy flavour but of course you could switch to vegetable and make the soup tee-total vegetarian. Make a big batch and keep it on hand for the week, for moment's that hunger catches you unaware.
Kale, Farro & Leek Broth
Makes 6 or 8 bowlfuls
Makes 6 or 8 bowlfuls
Prep Time – 15 minutes
Cook Time - 50 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 medium leeks, finely sliced
3 springs of thyme
100g farro (or pearl barley)
2 litres of hot chicken stock
200g curly kale, stemmed, washed thoroughly and roughly chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
For the bread
1 loaf of rye bread
50g salted butter, softened
a bunch of rosemary
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/ Heat the olive oil in a big, deep saucepan. Add the leeks and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the leeks have begun to turn translucent, but don’t allow them to colour.
2/ Add the springs of thyme and season well. Cover and continue to cook on very low heat for 10 minutes until the leeks have wilted, stirring occasionally to stop anything catching on the bottom of the pan. Stir the pearl barley into the pot and pour over the hot chicken stock. Simmer gently for 40-50 minutes until the faro is tender.
3/ Stir through the kale and allow to boil for the last 6-8 minutes. Top up with a little hpt stock if you think it’s needed. Its lovely for the kale to retain some of its crunch and vibrant green so don’t cook it for longer than needed.
4/ Meanwhile, to make the bread simply soften the butter with the crushed garlic. Slice the bread, but being careful not to cut the slices all the way through. Spread the garlic butter into each slice and stuff with a rosemary sprig. Cook in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes.
5/ Ladle into bowls and serve your soup with parsley bobbing in it and a good wedge or rosemary & garlic bread.