Clodagh McKenna’s kale, bean and winter roots soup

My gorgeous friend, florist Nikki Tibbles, has the most beautiful house in the country and I have been lucky enough to spend many weekends there. This recipe is inspired by one of her soups, which she makes every weekend with whatever seasonal vegetables she has.

Clodagh McKenna's kale, bean and winter roots soup
Dora Kazmierak


3 tbsp olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and cubed
3 parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 celery sticks, cubed
1 onion, diced
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock (see tips)
250g cavolo nero, chopped
2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


50g parmesan cheese, shaved
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

1. Place a large, heavy-based saucepan or flameproof casserole over a low heat and pour in the olive oil, then add the carrots, parsnips, celery, onion, rosemary and garlic. Season and stir well. Cover the pan with a lid and leave the vegetables to sweat for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

2. Stir in the hot stock and bring to the boil, then leave to cook for 10-15 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.

3. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor, or use a hand blender, and whiz to a smooth consistency.

4. Return the soup to the saucepan or casserole. Stir in the cavolo nero and cannellini beans and cook for 3-4 minutes until the kale has wilted and the beans have heated through. Season to taste.

5. Divide the soup between warmed bowls and sprinkle with parmesan and rosemary to serve.

TIP To make chicken stock, place a chicken carcass in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Chop a carrot, celery stick and an onion, and add these with some herbs and any other vegetables that are about to go off (apart from starchy vegetables such as parsnips and potatoes). Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least an hour. Strain through a sieve and you have delicious homemade stock.

Now buy Clodagh’s brilliant books

clodagh's weeknight kitchenOur recipes are taken from Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen and Clodagh’s Suppers, published by Kyle Books, both priced £20. To order at discounted prices until 17 January, go to or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £15