Monday, September 29, 2008

Rustic Cabbage Soup

This was one of the recipes I printed out to try from 101 Cookbooks. Tonight was the first time I attempted it and both Johnny and I really liked it a lot.

Somehow or another I thought February, instead of September, was wrapping up and that we were approaching March, not October. Do not ask me how this happened, it just did. Sometimes I write a date and end it with some random year like 1998, too. My brain just plays tricks on me.

Anyways, I'm thinking it's almost March and I get super excited to make corned beef and cabbage. My mom makes a huge surplus sized pot every year and we eat it for like a week and give huge rations out to family and friends. I LOVE corned beef and cabbage, but usually only remember to make it when it's the beginning of March. Last year was the first year I tackled it by myself, because the year prior my mom happened to be visiting that time of year and made it for us, leaving us with a couple extra servings to freeze. I hit the store ready to cook it again myself this year.

In my mistaken excitement of March approaching I picked out a big ole cabbage to put in our cart and later looked at the corned beef briskets. $25-35 a piece - I was appalled. My mouth wide open I stare at Johnny in disbelief as to why they aren't on sale? They always put corned beef on sale this time of..... oh. That is literally when it hit me that it was not February.

So I snap back to reality, don't buy the corned beef, but now am terribly in the mood for this. Plus I already have a cabbage bagged and in our cart. I'm not going to walk in shame all the way back to produce, unwrap my bagged cabbage and stick it back in the pile with the others. I figure I'll just buy it anyways and find a use for it to avoid hurting the poor chosen cabbage's feelings of being returned.

I was leafing through my recipes and saw Heidi's cabbage soup. Perfect!!! I just needed beans, which I grabbed on the next grocery trip. Today was a rainy, overcast day with the temperature beginning to have a bit of a chill in it. What better time to make soup?

The list of ingredients and instructions are Heidi's:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
a big pinch of salt
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups stock
1 1/2 cups white beans, precooked or canned (drained & rinsed well)
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons

Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes - it's o.k. to uncover to stir a couple times. Stir in the garlic and onion and cook for another minute or two. Add the stock and the beans and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a couple more minutes, until the cabbage softens up a bit. Now adjust the seasoning - getting the seasoning right is important or your soup will taste flat and uninteresting. Taste and add more salt if needed, the amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your stock is (varying widely between brands, homemade, etc). Serves 4.

I wasn't sure how much 1/2 of a pound of potatoes were, so I used two large potatoes. I'm a big fan of using the little jar of pre-minced garlic. It's a huge time saver and saves the hassle of peeling and mincing garlic by hand. I used the Knorr's vegetarian stock, but only 2 cubes which is supposed to equal 4 cups of water and I put in the whole 5. I thought the other flavors might make up for it, and I was right. I just added a little black pepper and the flavor was great. I used canned white beans for the convenience as well.

The one thing I always notice when I'm making one of Heidi's recipes is the smell they produce. Nothing else I ever cook has such a hearty, wholesome smell. I imagine it's how a kitchen in the 1800's might have smelled. Some stronger, rawer odors from chopping the raw potatoes, onions and cabbage. And then this almost earthy, deep smell from the layering of the ingredients as she builds the recipes up. It's homey and warm, Johnny also always notices when he walks in the door from work.

Her original recipe called for an extra drizzle of olive oil and parmesan cheese shavings on top, both of which I omitted, but would be great touches if you preferred.

I was so eager to eat I didn't grab a picture until the end. This was when I was ladling the leftovers into a storage container so forgive the lack of presentation.


Amanda Marie said...

Thanks for reading my blog, being the first to comment EVER and making me feel a little better about the gray hair!

Nowheymama said...

Mmm.. sounds great!

Anonymous said...

I would like to make that, but sadly, I would be the only one to eat it!

Let me know if you freeze it and how the texture changes, if any?


Laura said...

Ohhh I have never seen this!?! how weird but lucky,now I can make it.

Laura said...

Thanks for linking up to Just Another Meatless Monday!