I'm not a huge fan of tomato-based soups, but the ingredients I had in the crisper spelled one word: minestrone. It's a great hearty, healthy soup for chilly Melbourne, which is currently experiencing it's fourth coldest Autumn on record (I could have sworn it was the first). I also felt the need for a healthy dinner after a weekend heavy on the burgers/dim-sims/Mint Slice.
Thanks to Sanjosh, my lovely next door neighbour, who kindly let me use his microwave to defrost my home-made chicken stock. It would have been a very late dinner without your help Sanj!
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
100gm bacon (I trim the fat from mine but it would probably be more delicious if you leave it on)
2 large carrots, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1x tin of tomatoes
1 litre stock (I used chicken)
Silverbeet (full-grown spinach) - 1 massive leaf, chopped
1x tin of beans (I used a mixed selection, haricot would be fine)
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a big pan, then add the onion and bacon and fry until it starts to soften. Tip in the carrots, fennel, potato and garlic, and cook for a bit.
Add the tomatoes, stock and any seasoning you like (salt, pepper, oregano, sage, thyme) then bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring in the silverbeet for the last 10 minutes. Toss in the parsley and beans at the end.
Serve with sourdough toast, or a bit of parmesan stirred in.