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Kale and Spelt Soup with Rosemary Polenta Chips

This is a very hearty soup, and if you leave it to cool down after cooking the pearled spelt will continue to swell until you have a risotto style dish. If you can’t find pearled spelt use pearled barley instead.

Top with kale - the soup is lovely with whatever kale you have. The polenta chips are crisp and crunchy and are delicious dunked into this robust winter soup.

Kale and Spelt Soup

Dietary: Vegan | Serves 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 100g pearled spelt
  • 200g mix of kale and cavolo nero
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Soak the pearled spelt in boiling water for 30 minutes.
  2. Fry the onion in the rapeseed oil until translucent, then add the garlic and chilli and fry for a minute.
  3. Add a tin of tomatoes, the vegetable stock and the pearled spelt and cook for 30 minutes until the spelt is cooked and is tender. Stir often to prevent the spelt sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Season to taste.
  4. Remove the hard stalks from the kale and cavolo nero and chop.
  5. In a separate saucepan with a little water wilt the kale and cavolo nero for a couple of minutes until they have wilted and are tender. Drain and stir into the soup leaving a little to garnish the soup.

Rosemary Polenta Chips

We have used rosemary here but try adding different herbs such as parsley, chives or thyme or spice them up with paprika, chilli flakes or smoked chipotle powder.

The polenta can be made ahead and stored for up to 3 days before slicing and frying. The fried chips reheat well too, so keep any leftovers and reheat in a hot oven for 10 minutes.

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free | Serves 4 as a side

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cooling Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 125g quick ‘easy cook’ polenta
  • 500ml water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast flakes
  • Sunflower or rapeseed oil for frying

Method

  1. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the salt and olive oil, remove from the heat and slowly pour in the polenta, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or strong whisk.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and keep stirring until the polenta is thick and smooth. The polenta is cooked when it falls away from the sides of the pan and is no longer granular in texture. Stir in the rosemary and Nutritional Yeast flakes and mix well to ensure the flakes dissolve into the polenta. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
  4. Pour the cooked polenta into an oiled tray (approx 12x12cm or slightly smaller) so that the layer of polenta is approx 1.5cm deep. Smooth over with a wet or oiled spatula and leave until completely cold and solid.
  5. Turn the slab of solid polenta out onto a chopping board and slice into chips.
  6. Heat a couple of tablespoon of sunflower or rapeseed oil in a frying pan, add enough chips in one layer without overcrowding the pan and fry them for several minutes. Turn them often to ensure they are golden and crispy on all sides. Drain onto kitchen towel and fry the remaining polenta.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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