Cavolo nero works well in soups and stews, as it holds it shape and texture and doesn’t get too ‘cabbagy’ when cooked. Savoy cabbage, spring cabbage and kale would also work in this. The soup is savoury and creamy without using any dairy (this recipe requires a hand blender).
· 1 bulb of garlic
· Olive oil
· ½ lemon
· 400ml vegetable stock
· 1 tin white beans (cannellini, butter bean or haricot)
· 10 leaves of cavolo nero (washed and cut into short strips that will fit on a spoon!)
· Black Pepper
· Nutritional yeast or parmesan (optional)
For the roast garlic
This recipe uses 1 bulb but a few can be roasted at once. The roasted garlic will keep for a day or two but can be frozen for a month. Try and use fresh garlic, as it can become bitter as it starts to sprout.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Cut the very base off the garlic bulb (in a thin slice) so the bulbs are exposed. Remove any excess paper from the bulb. Drizzle a little oil and a pinch of salt in a baking dish (e.g. a loaf tin) and place the garlic cut side down. Cover the baking dish with another dish as a ‘lid’. The garlic can be wrapped in baking paper in the tray too. Bake for 40-45 mins until golden brown and there is no raw garlic smell left (and it smells delicious!). Leave to cool and then squeeze the bulbs from the paper.
For the soup
1. Drain one tin of white beans and keep the liquid. Top the liquid up to 500ml with stock (or water and 1tsp of bouillon powder).
2. Add the juice of ½ a lemon to the liquid and ½ of the garlic bulbs. Blend all together using a stick/hand blender.
3. Taste, then add 1 bulb of extra garlic at a time before blending and tasting. Keep adding and blending garlic until the flavour is heavily garlicky but not overpowering. Bear in mind there’s no salt or oil yet. The liquid will be milky white and have thickened slightly.
4. Once enough garlic has been added, create a whirlpool in the liquid with the blender. Pour in a good olive oil slowly to create a thick, shiny liquid. Add about 10-20mls of olive oil will be needed but a little extra won’t hurt.
5. The oil, garlic, lemon and water will make a thick, shiny liquid (an emulsion) that has the consistency similar to single cream. Now add salt (unless using parmesan) and black pepper to taste. More stock powder can be added too.
6. If using, add 1 tablespoon or Nutritional Yeast (vegan) grated Parmesan (not vegan!) for extra umami and creaminess.
7. Add the liquid to a saucepan and add the beans from earlier. The cavolo nero can either be steamed separately or cooked in the liquid. Heat the whole soup until warmed through and serve.