Clean Minestrone Soup

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Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 celery stick, diced

1 carrot, diced

200 g (7oz) swede, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 x 400 g tin plum tomatoes

1 x 400 g tin borlotti beans, drained

50g (2 oz.) free from spaghetti, broken into pieces

1/2 Savoy cabbage, leaves shredded

1 x 31 g pack basil, leaves picked and about half shredded

1 tbsp olive oil (for the stock)

1kg (2 lb.) chicken drumsticks (for the stock)

1 leek, roughly chopped (for the stock)

2 carrots, roughly chopped (for the stock)

2 celery sticks, roughly chopped (for the stock)

1 onion, halved (for the stock)

handful parsley (for the stock)

4 thyme sprigs (for the stock)

2 bay leaves (for the stock)

1/4 tsp black peppercorns (for the stock)

Directions:

1. For the stock, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Brown the drumsticks in batches, then return to the pan along with the remaining stock ingredients. Cover with 1.5ltr (2 1/2pt) water and bring to the boil.

2. Using a large metal spoon, skim the scum from the surface (repeat as needed during cooking). Push the ingredients down with the back of your spoon, submerging fully in the liquid, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.

3. Strain the stock through a sieve into a glass bowl and discard the rest – or see Delicious spins (below) for using up the chicken. Leave to cool before chilling for up to 2 days (or freeze for up to 3 months )

4. To make the soup, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and swede and cook for 10 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the garlic and thyme leaves, then cook for 2-3 minutes more. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and tomato purée, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes before breaking them up with a spoon. Add 1ltr (1 3/4pt) stock and the beans. Bring to the boil, then add the free from pasta and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Add the cabbage and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Season to taste, then stir in the shredded basil. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and scatter over extra basil leaves and a little freshly ground black pepper.

Bon Appetit!

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