Cabbage and Bean Soup
September 7, 2007
“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.