My favourite kind of meal is the kind that you pull together from stuff in the fridge that looks slightly dodgy and this minestrone with crispy parmesan dumplettes is pulled together with all kinds of things. I love soups like this because they’re so easy to create and just so tasty. I had half a fennel and half a cabbage and some very old rainbow chard that was on the verge of crawling out of the fridge by itself. All these ingredients are just perfect for a minestrone which is my favourite soup. Simple and quick to make although I have a rule that this MUST be made a minimum of 4 hours prior to eating, if not overnight. There’s something in the chemistry of the soup going from boiling hot to cool and then warming up again that just makes this all taste so phenomenal.
I would normally put parmesan cheese or at the very least a strong cheddar into a minestrone at the end to add some piquancy to the dish. That’s how I was inspired to make these dumplings, I just felt that they’d make the perfect accompaniment to the soup.
i’m using my current favourite 24cm shallow cast-iron pan with a lid but any large soup pan or casserole dish would work for this soup.
As alway, check out my instagram highlights for a tutorial of this dish.
for the soup
- 1 medium onion – chopped
- 1/3 whole bunch of celery – chopped
- 3 medium carrots – chopped
- 1/2 fennel bulb – chopped
- 3 garlic gloves – finely chopped
- fresh herbs – I used rosemary, thyme and oregano
- 2 fresh tomatoes – chopped
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cabbage – chopped
- 1 bunch rainbow chard – chopped
- 100g frozen peas
- 1 lt good quality veg stock
- 50g pearl barley
- 100g strong cheddar cheese – finely grated
for the parmesan dumplettes
- 200g self-raising flour
- 100g vegetarian suet
- 50g parmesan
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- a little cold water to mix
Melt a large nob of butter and some olive oil in your pan over a medium heat, add the onions, fennel, garlic, celery and carrots, stir well and gently saute for roughly 8 minutes. Add the herbs and saute again for another couple of minutes.
Next, add the chopped fresh tomatoes and the stalks of the rainbow chard, stir again, place the lid on and let all the veg sweat for at least five minutes or until the veg are soft
Now add the stock and the rest of the veg and pearl barely and let the soup simmer very gently with the lid on for at least an hour, then turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Now let the soup stand to get cool. At least an hour, 4 hours is good, overnight is best.
to make the dumplings, place all the ingredients into a large bowl and rub them together, add enough cold water to bring it all together into a ball of dough. Divide it into small bite-size balls and set aside.
once you’re ready to serve, heat the soup to a gentle bubble, and then add the dumplettes to the top, place the lid on and let the whole pot sit for 15 mins before placing under the grill for 5 mins… it should be hot but not steaming when people eat it.
eat and of course, enjoy!