Cavolo Nero and Bacon Soup

There’s a background smack of chilli to wake up the taste buds in this otherwise gentle soup brimming with veg. Scraps of bacon contribute a surprising amount of richness while rosemary and bay give the stock cube broth a boost of flavour. I served it with a separately poached egg and crusty bread and butter and I’d happily have seconds of this and make it supper.

Serves 2
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 30 min

100g lardons
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
generous sprig rosemary
1 small red chilli
1 dsp flour
1 ½ chicken stock cubes
750ml boiling water
150g cavolo nero
250g potato

Cook the lardons in the olive oil in a spacious pan over a medium-low heat, cooking until the fat runs and crisps and the bacon very aromatic. Halve and peel the onion. Halve each half lengthways and then slice across the quarters thinly. Finely chop the garlic. Stir the onion into the bacon, cooking gently so it wilts without browning, continuing until it looks like limp worms. About 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and rosemary leaves that you have chopped to dust (I do this with a mezzaluna). Halve the chilli lengthways, scrape away the seeds, slice in skinny batons and then into tiny dice. Stir the chilli into the onion and cook for a couple of minutes before you remove the pan from the heat and sift the flour over the top. Stir vigorously until disappeared, then return to the heat with the stock cubes dissolved in 750ml boiling water. Increase the heat and stir as the soup comes up to the boil and the flour thickens the broth. Meanwhile, shred the cavolo nero, discarding any thick, dense stalk. Peel the potato, cut in sugar lump size dice and rinse. Add both to the soup and simmer, partially covered, for about 8 minutes until tender. Season to taste and serve with a swirl of your best olive oil.