The Food Gatherer's Note: Healing and comforting aromatic Tuscan chicken soup, slowly cooked and topped with gently wilted kale. Of course it would be best to use your own chicken broth, made from a carcass of a chicken roast, but for a quick and easy fix you could use a good quality stock. Recipe taken from One Good Dish by David Tanis
POLENTINA ALLA TOSCANA
60ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (optional)
225g carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
Salt and black pepper
1 medium leek, trimmed and cut into 2cm cylinders
1 bay leaf
1.5 litres chicken broth
225g kale, preferably Cavolo Nero
½ tsp grated or finely chopped garlic
A pinch of red pepper flakes
Leaves from 1 rosemary sprig
In a heavy pot, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, celery and fennel, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for around 5 minutes or so, until barely softened. Add the leek and bay leaf and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the polenta, stirring to distribute it, and raise the heat to high. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the soup to gently simmer for around an hour; the broth should be just slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Meanwhile, wash and roughly chop the kale. Drain in a colander, but do not dry. Warm the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a wide frying pan over a high heat. When it’s hot, add the kale, stirring as it begins to wilt. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, then season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium, cover and cook until the greens are tender; about 5 minutes more. Set aside.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the kale. Sprinkle with the chopped rosemary (finely chop it at the last minute) and drizzle with more olive oil, if desired