Am I the only one who’s oddly glad that autumn is here? After a truly bizarre summer of chopping and changing weather it’s been impossible to know what to wear, let alone cook. You’d walk towards the tube in a summer dress, basking in the suns warmth, only to get off the other end to be greeted by freezing grey skies and rain. It was like travelling through a portal into another world, and it was bloody frustrating. Autumn on the other hand, seems to be behaving itself. The bright crisp days are beautiful and i’m quite happy to don my jacket and my scarf knowing that i’ll be needing it all day, not just for half an hour here and there. Another thing that I will never complain about is autumn food as to me that means soups. As the cooler weather rolls in salads are just not quite cutting the mustard any more and soup is more than happy to take it’s place as the quick and healthy thing you end up having for more meals than you’d care to admit. This is where this little number comes in. I won’t lie, this soup mainly came into existence as i rummaged throught the slightly barren fridge and found not much more than some Cavalo Nero (tuscan black cabbage) and a couple of courgettes. Handily there were some butter beans and onions in the cupboard to tie everything together and hey presto, lunch was sorted. Luckily for me, the end result was just what i was after, warm, comforting and quick. Perfect for curling up with in the evening (or any other time of day for that matter). Another bonus? It’s cheap to make and packed full of iron and protein, sounds pretty good to me.

Courgette, Cavalo Nero and Butter Bean Soup

  • 1 finely diced red onion
  • 2 decent sized garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp chill flakes (optional)
  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 2 tins of butter beans
  • 1 bunch of cavalo nero, hard middle vein removed from each leaf
  • 1 litre of chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or thyme
  • Olive oil and Parmesan to finish

Gently fry the onion and garlic over a low heat until soft but not coloured. Cut the courgettes in half and slice finely into half moons and add to the pan. Drain and rinse the butter beans and add to the pan. Add the chilli flakes and give everything a good stir.

Add your stock and oregano/thyme and simmer for a couple of minutes until everything’s soft whilst you chop your cavalo nero into inch long sections.

Add your cavalo nero and simmer until it’s just soft.

Now is the time you need to taste and season the soup, you will need a fair amount of salt and pepper as the beans and courgettes really need it. You can either leave it chunky like this or you can blend it, i blended about 3/4 of it, just leaving a few little chunks. If you do blend it, wait for it to cool a little before you do so. Then ladle into bowls and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a grating of parmesan.