I did some freezer rummaging the other day looking for the last couple of chocolate religieuses that I’d stashed away back in April because I wanted a quick pudding. Whilst I was rifling through and getting cold fingers, I noted that a) the freezer really badly needs defrosting and b) that I still had quite a lot of ham stock leftover from December. As it was unseasonably cold at the beginning of this week I thought I’d do the sensible thing and make soup. Defrosting the freezer will have to wait until we eat more food.
Every Christmas for the past 4/5 years I’ve cooked a large ham and saved the stock in 500ml portions for using throughout the year. This year I might even remember to take notes of what I actually chuck in the stock pot (an assortment of whole spices, leeks, carrots and parsnips last year I think) and blog about it. The benefit of having a well flavoured stock to use for a soup like this is that you don’t need to add any extra flavours. The hint of sweetness from the young vegetables complements the slightly smoky salty ham stock really well. You could of course use a good chicken stock or vegetable stock instead as I doubt many people will have any ham stock on the go this time of year.
This green veggies minestrone uses frozen peas, frozen baby broad beans and a few good handfuls of kale with a good helping of orzo pasta. I saw a similar minestrone recipe in Good Food Magazine ages ago and couldn’t be bothered trying to work out which issue it was in or whether I even still owned the right copy as I had a bit of a clear out a while ago. So I just went ahead and made a soup with what was already in the kitchen. Subsequent Googling has revealed that this is the recipe I was thinking of from the June 2012 issue. I remember that I’d read a feature on broad beans that summer and at the time thought ‘why would you eat broad beans, they’re horrid’. This is because my Grandma, a great cook except when it comes to veggies, seemed to end up serving us these horrible grey things that weren’t very nice to eat. Realising that broad beans could be double podded and actually taste nice was a revelation. The frozen baby broad beans that I used weren’t double podded but as they’re so small they’re still tender and don’t end up as horrible grey lumps unlike the larger beans Grandma used to cook from the garden.
- 1.5 litres hot ham, chicken or vegetable stock
- 150g frozen peas
- 150g frozen broad beans
- 150g orzo pasta or broken spaghetti
- 4 large handfuls chopped kale, tough stalks removed
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the stock in a large saucepan over a high heat until it begins to boil. Add the peas and broad beans, stir and bring back to the boil. Next add the pasta, stir again and reduce the heat slightly and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes. Finally add the kale, stir well and cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Finish with black pepper and serve.
I’m linking up my green veggies minestrone with loads of blogging challenges. First up is Credit Crunch Munch which I’m guest hosting for Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All this month because this is cheap and quick to make. Next is Extra Veg run by Utterly Scrummy and Fuss Free Flavours (this month’s host), Pasta Please run by Tinned Tomatoes and this month hosted by BakingQueen74, Alphabakes run by Caroline Makes (this month’s host) and The More Than Occasional Baker where the chosen letter is O for orzo.