For approximately 10 servings, you need

25ml canola oil

This is usually a vegetable soup, but you can add meat. Beef works best.

Meat: optional

– 500g g stewing cuts of beef, or raw chicken thighs and drum sticks  or 300g deboned cooked roast chicken, cut into pieces. You will add the cooked chicken add the end of the cooking process & simply heat the soup thoroughly before serving.

1 large white onion, chopped or 4 leeks, trimmed and sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 large sticks celery, sliced

2 large carrots, diced or sliced

5 large spinach, cabbage or kale leaves, finely sliced

50g tomato paste

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 litre vegetable or meat stock, matching the meat type if you choose to add meat

2 x 400g cans beans. I usually choose at least 2 types: barlotti, red kidney, black or sugar (broad) beans

Salt and pepper to season

25ml Worcestershire Sauce

Optional: 20ml chilli paste or chilli chutney

Speed it up

Instead of using a mix of fresh vegetables, you can buy a pack of pre-prepared minestrone mix soup vegetables. This works out somewhat more economically if you don’t have a large family to consume full packs of various vegetables. The soup pack contains beans, but I still add the 2 cans.


To prepare

I always use a pressure cooker for soups. If you are using conventional cooking, it will simply take longer to cook an you will have to give it the occasional stir and top up the liquid as it evaporates.

Heat the oil and add the beef and onions. If the beef is fatty I omit the oil and use the melting beef fat to sauté the beef and onions. I like to brown the meat well at this stage as it develops the beefy flavour. The same applies if you are using chicken. If using raw chicken the skin must brown very well as there is nothing worse than a bit of flabby white flabby chicken skin!

Brown the meat and onions to develop the flavour

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. For conventional cooking allow to simmer for approximately 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Top up with water or stock to maintain the liquid level.

Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Serve on its own or with crusty bread. Add a few shavings of Parmesan cheese if you wish.