Cabbage and Bean Soup

September 7, 2007

Cabbage and Bean soup

“Too much of nothing, Makes a man feel ill at ease” grumbles Dylan on the Basement Tapes. What he doesn’t go on to say, is that too much cabbage laying around the house can lead to similar feelings of uneasiness.

When I’m suffering from EBAS (excess-brassica-anxiety-syndrome), I often resort to Cabbage and Bean soup therapy, which generally does the trick. I don’t really follow a recipe, just a basic method. It’s all about patiently waiting for a good, deep flavour to emerge.

Cabbage and Bean soup

1. Firstly, build a strong base of flavours by slowly sauteing together, in plenty of olive oil, whatever is available of the following, chopped together roughly:

onion, garlic, carrot, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms (ideally, dried porcini soaked in hot water for an hour), pancetta, bacon, salami (in chunks, not slices), herbs (rosemary, parsley, marjoram), salt and pepper

2. Stir in a tin of beans – haricot, chick peas, flageolet – whatever’s available in the cupboard. Continue to cook everything gently while the flavours continue to mingle and develop.

3. Next the liquid is added. Perhaps a small glass of wine first, then water. Not too much, the soup should be quite thick and concentrated by the end.

4. Let this cook for a good while, at least an hour or two. Continue to taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more water if necessary.

5. Finally, 15 or 20 minutes before you’re going to eat, finely slice some cabbage leaves, wash them, and add them to the soup. Continue to simmer until the cabbage is well cooked.

6. This soup is good served at the table with freshly grated Parmesan, maybe a bowl of pesto to spoon in, or some chopped red chilli and fresh herbs to sprinkle on top.

5 Responses to “Cabbage and Bean Soup”

  1. Joanna Says:

    Love the idea of excess brassica anxiety syndrome … obviously a better way to cure it than, say, stuffing a cabbage, as that only uses up one leaf per serving. Delicious, too!


  2. Maths Chick Says:

    This was one of Gastropunk’s finest after-work meals. It was so flavoursome, especially as no stock was used. Delicious. I am one lucky girlie.

  3. Her Grace Says:

    You are lucky, Mathschick! I make a version of this myself with napa cabbage and white beans. Never considered spooning pesto in, though. Good idea!

  4. Flo Says:

    Cooked this last night with a few variations for the BF and myself. Ours turned out more like a stew than a soup, but it was rather lovely all the same!

  5. gastropunk Says:

    It is a kind of stewy soup. I think a lot of Italian soups are thick, rustic affairs – the opposite of the thin, concentrated French creamed soups. Each good in their own way. Glad you enjoyed it.

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