Sunday of the long weekend dawned bright and cold; my favourite kind of winter day, and so we invited a few mates around for a bonfire that afternoon. One mate in particular, the lovely Anna Derham, excelled herself by bringing out a huge vat of her amazing winter minestrone soup (recipe below) which we kept hot on a small pile of coals. It was the best of days – lots of happy people, kids running wild, red wine, good food and crisp blue skies. Sigh.
Anna’s winter minestrone
This is the perfect winter soup – hearty, tasty, full of veggies and super good for you. Thanks Anna! Serves 6-8.
2 x red onions, peeled and diced
1 x swede, peeled and diced
1 x parsnip, peeled and diced
4 rashers smokey bacon, cut into strips
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 sticks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
bunch basil, finely chopped (even the stalks)
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
glass red wine
1 bunch spinach, shredded, stalks removed
750ml chicken stock or veggie stock
1 handful fregola or pearl barley
100g risoni pasta
1 x can cannellini beans
Heat a slug of olive oil in a large pot on medium high. Add the veggies, bacon, crushed garlic and finely chopped basil stalks. Sweat on low heat until softened (about 15 mins). Add shredded spinach leaves, stock, pasta and fregola/pearl barley and simmer for 30 min or until pearl barley is cooked. Stir in beans, cook for a few more minutes to heat through and garnish with basil and shaved parmesan. Season to taste.
We love a bonfire/paddock picnic and have them as often as possible. Here are some more recipes and things we love to do/share and make for these kinds of days.