Wintertime calls for hearty stews and this one is by far one of my favourites. Whenever I crave a good stew I go back to this recipe. My dad cooks this rather frequently, along with other very simple but very delicious stews and soups.
This soup is specifically asking for cavolo nero. A kale with dark green and long leaves growing out of a treelike stem. cavolo nero is also known as black cabbage or Tuscan kale and is native in southern Italy. We live in southern England and grow it in our garden with ease. With proper care the plant can last you through several winters since it can survive frost and you only harvest the leafs. If you however can not find this type of kale you can swap it with curly kale but it won't taste the same.
- 200g kale (cavolo nero)
- 2 medium onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 whole leek
- 100g celeriac
- one carrot
- 1 bay leaf
- 250ml passata or crushed tomatos
- 1 ½ teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 L vegetable stock, low sodium
- 100 ml white wine (optional)
- 3 tablespoon oil
Chop the onions, carrot, garlic, leek and root celeriac finely.
Wash the kale and remove the thick inner vein running down the center. Cut it into thin stripes and set aside.
Pour 3 tablespoon oil of your liking into deep cast iron pan or pot. Add the onions and fry gently over medium heat until soft for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables except the kale. This type of kale is best prepared quickly to make the most of the delicate, earthy flavour, so don't be tempted to overcook it.
Fry the vegetables for another 10 minutes until softened. Add the wine and wait until it has evaporated. Once it is gone add the vegetable stock, tomatoes and simmer for an hour with lid on.
Add the cavalo nero and simmer for another 20 minutes.
During the last 20 minutes you can cut the bread into slices and toast it in the oven and serve next to the kale stew or line the bowls with two slices each and ladle the soup over it.