Cabbage and Bean Soup

This is a heavily-evolved version of Asparagus and White Bean Soup from Classic Spanish Cooking with Chef Ef. In essence, it’s a cabbage and potato soup (or stew) flavored with wine and bacon.

The dish is quite versatile and takes well to all sorts of vegetable additions. Last spring I added a cup of goatsmilk with the stock and made a sort of spring chowder, with young asparagus and peas as the featured vegetable. In the winter we make it as below, with plump scarlet runner beans from our summer garden that we have dried and saved for darker days.

Ingredients
3 slices bacon, diced
1 med onion, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
3 tb cilantro or parsley, chopped

4 or 5 med waxy potatoes, diced
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
4 c chicken stock or other stock
1 c dry white wine
1/8–1/4 tsp dried chile flakes

3 c cooked beans
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp salt or to taste

Method
1. Saute bacon over high heat in a large saute pan or soup pot. Stir constantly until it is well rendered and crisp. Add onions and cook in bacon fat until translucent. Then add garlic and fresh herbs and cook for a minute.
2. Stir in potatoes and cabbage. Cook on medium high heat for 3–5 minutes, allowing cabbage to wilt. Add stock, wine, and chile flakes. Stir well and bring to a full boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.
3. Add beans, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired. Cook uncovered at a simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot with crusty bread and a dry white wine.

Tips
–> As you might guess, quantities for vegetables, potatoes, beans, and so forth are variable according to preference and the contents of your kitchen. This is a good base recipe though.
–> Any vegetable in season can be added along with the beans, or partially or completely substituted for the beans. Try green beans, asparagus, peapods, or fresh green peas.
–> In darkest coldest winter, chorizo or ham can be added after the bacon is crisp. We made one version with incredibly spicy chorizo sausage and lots of cannellini beans. It was rich, dark, and exquisite.
–> This soup could be a fine vegetarian dish; replace the bacon with olive oil and the chicken stock with vegetable stock. Don’t omit the wine though.

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2 Responses to Cabbage and Bean Soup

  1. mary mcguire says:

    what is a URI? about this recipe: I especially like that variations and the story that you tell with the recipe. I can taste it and will try it right away. thanks for making it so friendly. mary

  2. JAC DUQUETTE says:

    LOVED THE SOUP. I HAPPENED TO HAVE SOME CARROTS AND CELERY TO COMPLETE THE TRINITY. I ALSO ADDED A CAN OF PETITE DICED TOMATOES BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT MY MOM WOULD HAVE DONE. IF I HAD SOME SMOKED KIELBASA I WOULD ADD THAT TOO.
    I HAVE TO DRIVE OVER TO A MEXICAN MARKET AT BAGLEY AND 17th TO GET CHORIZO AND THAT MESSES UP MY WHOLE AFTERNOON AS I HAVE TO STOP AND EAT WHILE I AM THERE. THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS A HOTBED OF EXCELLENT MEXICAN RESTAURANTS. IF I AM MAKING A MAJOR BATCH OF CHILI I SOMETIMES GET BULK CHORIZO TO PROVIDE A BACKGROUND TO THE CHILI GRIND CHUCK.
    JAC
    I DIG THE SITE BUT WONDER WHEN YOU FIND THE TIME TO MANAGE IT. IS THE CHOWHOUND YOURS OR WAS THAT A LINK? I WASTED A GOOD 45 MINUTES JUST PASSING THRU.
    JAC

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