Thank God for weekends… when we can be slow and consistent like tortoises…
Sometimes, just thinking about the busy days ahead is enough to get my head in a spin (and maybe yours too). That’s when we rely most on our ‘go-to’ meals to keep us nourished and perhaps sane as well.
This minestrone recipe allows you to be slow and contemplative on the weekend, when you need to unwind, and alleviates the stress of trying to get a decent meal on the table on workdays. I like to cook it on the weekend, and keep it in the fridge for the week ahead. You can pop some in a container to take to work for lunch (it’s quicker than making a sandwich), or serve it up for dinner with the addition of some pasta. It is particularly delicious served with a spoonful of pesto, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese or a drizzle of olive oil. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, they help to provide a range of nutrients which make this dish super-nutritious…and delicious.
1 veal shank (ask your butcher to cut it in half)
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/3 cup lentils
1 bay leaf
1 brown onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 parsnip, diced
1 can diced tomato
1/2 sweet potato, grated
Handful of green leaves, chopped (*warrigal greens, spinach, silver beet etc.)
1.5 litres water or vegetable stock or chicken stock
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1 can beans ( I like to use 4 bean mix)
handful green beans, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
salt and pepper
NOTE: * warrigal greens, otherwise known as Aboriginal spinach is a native plant with grows prolifically in my backyard. It requires little maintenance (the bugs don’t like it very much), and is easily propagated from cuttings. It makes a lovely ground cover around the veggie patch , and can be used as a substitute to spinach when cooked. Like spinach, it also contains oxalates. If you regularly consume warrigal greens, it is recommended you remove the oxalates by blanching the leaves in hot water for one minute, then rinsing in cold water before cooking.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot, and add the veal. Sear for a few minutes, turning so that the meat is browned all over.
Add the lentils, barley bay leaf and onion, and continue cooking until the onion is transparent.
Add the carrot, celery, parsnip, tomato, sweet potato, green leaves and water/stock. Cover and allow to simmer gently for 2 hours.
Remove the veal shank. Separate the meat from the bone and shred the meat. Return it to the pot along with the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for a further 1.5 hours. Add more water if necessary.
Season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy… served with some crusty bread or some short pasta.