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  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a low heat. Add the bacon and cook until beginning to crisp.
  2. Add the onion season and cook until softened and beginning to turn golden, around 10-15 minutes. Add the rosemary, garlic, bay and chilli and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the fennel, celery and carrot and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until softened.
  4. Add a glass of white wine to deglaze the pan and allow the alcohol to cook off and reduce by half. Then add the drained beans, tomatoes and the spelt, stir to combine and pour in the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes until the grains are cooked and the sauce has thickened and the veggies are cooked through.
  5. To finish add the green - cavolo nero, kale or cabbage, stir through and simmer until just cooked through.
  6. Serve immediately in deep bowls with a spoonful of pesto or a sprinkle of Parmesan and a big hunk of bread.
Recipe Notes


This is such a good versatile veggie stew.  You can change the veg and use whatever you like - potatoes, leeks, parsnips etc.  You can add things, take them out, use different beans etc.  To make it veggie / vegan just take out the bacon and use vegetable stock.  Win, win!

To make ahead make up to the end of point 4, reheat and add the greens at the end and cook through.

You can use different grains, spelt, pearl barley etc but also lentils would work and even quinoa from a ready cooked packet added at the end.  Lots of options for different tastes.

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