WHITE BEAN & SPINACH SOUP WITH PO­LENTA FIN­GERS

SERVES 4 PREP 15 MIN­UTES + 1 HOUR TO CHILL COOK 40 MIN­UTES $3.50 A SERVE

Homes+ (Australia) - - EASY FOOD -

3 large veg­etable stock cubes 2/3 cup in­stant po­lenta 15g but­ter, chopped 1/3 cup grated parme­san or tasty cheese 1 ta­ble­spoon finely chopped rose­mary 1 ta­ble­spoon finely chopped oregano ¼ cup plain flour 2 tea­spoons veg­etable oil, plus ex­tra 1 leek, pale sec­tion only, halved length­wise and thinly sliced 4 cloves gar­lic, crushed 2 medium pota­toes, peeled, chopped 2 x 400g cans can­nellini beans, rinsed 100g baby spinach leaves

STEP 1 Grease and line base and sides of a 26cm x 16cm slice pan with bak­ing pa­per. Place 1 stock cube and 22/3 cups wa­ter in a large saucepan over mod­er­ate heat; bring to a sim­mer. Slowly whisk in po­lenta un­til com­bined. Cook, whisk­ing, for 5 min­utes or un­til po­lenta is thick and comes away from sides of pan. Re­move from heat.

STEP 2 Stir in but­ter, cheese and half the herbs. Sea­son. Spoon into pre­pared pan; level sur­face. Cool slightly. Cover with plas­tic wrap. Chill for 1 hour or un­til firm. Cut into 16 pieces. Place flour in a shal­low bowl. Toss po­lenta fin­gers in flour to coat.

STEP 3 Mean­while, heat oil in a large heavy­based saucepan over mod­er­ate heat. Add leek and gar­lic; cook and stir for 5 min­utes or un­til soft. Add potato and beans; cook and stir for 1 minute or un­til com­bined. Add re­main­ing crum­bled stock cubes, herbs and 1.25 litres (5 cups) wa­ter. Bring to the boil. Re­duce heat to low; cover. Sim­mer for 15 min­utes. Add spinach; sim­mer for 2 min­utes or un­til it wilts.

STEP 4 Heat ex­tra oil (3cm depth) in a large deep fry­ing pan over mod­er­ately high heat. Shal­low-fry po­lenta, in batches, for 3 min­utes or un­til golden. Drain on pa­per tow­els. If nec­es­sary, re­heat oil for each batch. Serve soup with po­lenta fin­gers.

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