- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 courgette
- 200g runner beans
- 1 garlic clove
- 200g chard
- 200g unsmoked lardons
- 150g pearl barley
- 1 chicken stock cube
- A handful of basil, leaves only
- A handful of mint, leaves only
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp half fat crème fraîche
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 ltr boiling water
Peel and finely chop the onion and carrot. Cut the courgette into small pieces. Trim and finely slice the runner beans. Peel and grate the garlic.
Separate the chard leaves and stalks. Finely slice the stalks and roughly chop the leaves.
Pour1 tbsp olive oil into a large pan and bring to a medium heat. Add the lardons and fry for 3-4 mins, turning occasionally, till golden on all sides.
Slide in the garlic, carrot, onion, chard stalks and courgette along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
Tip the barley into the pan and pour over 1 ltr boiling water. Crumble in the stock cube and stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 20 mins.
Add the runner beans and chard leaves to the pan and stir well. Cook for a further 2 mins.
Roughly chop the basil and mint leaves and stir most of them through the soup. Grate in the zest from the lemon.
Ladle the minestrone into bowls, topping with the remaining herbs and a dollop of crème fraîche. Serve with wedges of the zested lemon.