Cabbage & White Bean Soup with Root Vegetables

        From the blog For Love of the Table

2/3 cup (about 4 1/2 to 5 oz.) dried great northern beans, soaked (overnight or with quick soak method)

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled

Several sprigs thyme

 

1 to 2 T. olive oil

2 oz. bacon (or salt pork), cut in a 1/4-inch dice

1 large or 2 small leeks—white and pale green parts only, halved, well-rinsed and cut in a 1/3-to 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced cross-wise

1/2 medium onion, diced (1 cup)

2/3 lb. turnip, peeled and cut in a 1/3- to 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)

2/3 lb. sweet potato (a "white" variety, if available), peeled and cut in a 1/3- to 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)

3/4 lb. wedge of cabbage, cored and cut into a rough 1/2-inch dice (3 cups)

4 c. Chicken Stock

2 c. Water

Olive oil

Finely minced flat leaf parsley

 

Drain and rinse the beans.  Place them in a large saucepan and cover with fresh water by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and skim off the foam that has risen to the surface.  Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, the garlic and thyme.  Cook the beans at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender.  Or, place the soaked, drained beans in a shallow gratin with the garlic and thyme.  Drizzle with the olive oil.  Cover with boiling water by an inch, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid, or a piece of foil.  Transfer to a 325° oven and bake until tender.  Whether you cook the beans on the stove top or in the oven, they will take about an hour and 15 minutes to cook.  Add salt to taste when the beans are half cooked.  Beans may be cooked ahead.  Cool the beans in their cooking liquid.

 

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until rendered and beginning to turn golden and crisp around the edges. Add the leeks, onions, and the garlic along with a pinch of salt and continue to cook until the vegetables have begun to soften—about 10 to 15 minutes.  (If you are adding any carrots or celery, add them with the leeks and onions.)

 

Add the turnip, sweet potatoes and cabbage and stir to coat in the fat and cooked vegetables.  Add a good pinch of salt and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until you can hear the vegetables sizzling and see that the cabbage has begun to wilt/soften.  Add the stock and enough water to just cover the vegetables—they should be snug, but move freely and easily when stirred.  In any case, the amount of liquid is up to you.  Use less water if you want thick, hearty soup and use more if you want a lighter, broth-y soup.  Be mindful that the cabbage will collapse a bit as it cooks. 

 

Bring the soup to a simmer.  Taste and season the soup with salt.  Cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender—about 20 to 25 minutes.  Add the cooked beans with their liquid.  Return the soup to a gentle simmer and cook briefly (5 minutes or so) to allow the flavors to blend.  Correct the seasoning, adding freshly ground black pepper, if you like.  Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled generously with parsley.  Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and some cheese.

 

Makes 2 1/2 quarts soup (enough for 5 or 6 servings)


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