The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’
Due to the unprovoked, and seemingly endless brutal war of annihilation against Ukrainian civilians by Vladimir Putin and his army and the worsening humanitarian crisis, please consider helping by following the link below. There are a number of reputable aid agencies from which to choose. Many of these agencies will also help victims suffering the devastating effects of natural disasters.
Support Humanitarian Efforts in Ukraine
Nothing beats a warm and warming bowl of soup to chase away those chilly damp days of fall and winter. Cabbage White Bean Leek Soup is as delicious and comforting as they come.
Ahhhhh, the humble, ubiquitous cabbage. This cruciferous vegetable is present in almost every cuisine, in one variety or another. Cabbage can be fermented, baked into pastry, stuffed with meat or vegetables simmered in a sauce and eaten raw in slaw. Readily available and inexpensive, cruciferous vegetables are nutrient rich powerhouses. However, none of that would matter if they didn’t also taste wonderful when properly prepared.
Unfortunately, too many people have memories of smelly, over-cooked cabbage permeating school cafeterias and hesitate using it. But if you are one of those people, please give cabbage another chance. The shredded cabbage and leeks soften and just melt into the broth, resulting in a flavorful bowl of comfort and yumminess. The leeks and cabbage take on a sweetness when cooked this way, so adding a grated hard cheese with some saltiness to it like a pecorino or asiago is the perfect accompaniment. I know that vegan cheese options have come a long way in recent years, so if making this as a vegan option, I would strongly encourage adding a vegan cheese when serving.
We eat soup all year long. Hot soup in the spring, fall and winter and cold in the summer. Sometimes as a starter to a larger meal and more often as a meal in itself. My Cabbage White Bean Leek Soup recipe should be viewed as a starting place. Made exactly as written, the end product will be wonderful. But, if you don’t have leeks, use onions or shallots. Not into cooking your own beans, use canned. More carrots? Sure, why not? No farro? No problem. Use potato, peeled and cubed or wheat berries or leave it out. Going vegan with the recipe? Use all oil or a vegan “butter” substitute, add two to three rounded tablespoons of nutritional yeast and leave out the parmesan rind.
In other words – don’t get bogged down in exactness. And don’t get too precious with the soup. While I eat with my eyes as well as my taste buds, this soup will still be delicious even without the large handful of fresh herbs that I have added at the end. Instead, just add a drizzle of a good, flavored olive oil when serving up this delicious soup.
So when you are ready, give Cabbage White Bean Leek Soup a go. You won’t be disappointed.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
2 pound green or white cabbage, trimmed and cut into shreds
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large leeks, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 large carrots, trimmed and sliced into thinnish rounds
1 good hunk of parmesan rind with some cheese attached (optional but recommended) OR 2 rounded Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
3 cups cooked white beans of choice (cannellini are my personal favorite)
8 to 10 cups (2 to 2.5 quarts) of veggie or chicken stock, preferably unsalted (or bean cooking liquid plus stock)
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
3/4 cup uncooked farro, potatoes, wheat berries or barley
a large handful of fresh herbs (I used dill, parsley and thyme, but almost any will do) for serving
In a large stockpot, sauté leeks in the butter/oil on medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until softened.
Add in the sliced carrots, garlic and one teaspoon of salt. and sauté for 3 more minutes. Next in is the shredded cabbage. Sauté to soften, adding in about 1 cup of the liquid to help move things along.
Finally, add in the cooked beans, bay leaves, cloves and parmesan rinds, if using. Stir everything through and pour the stock and/or the bean liquid, if using, over all of the ingredients in the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Then cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
Uncover the pot, add in the farro and give a good stir to everything. Bring the mixture back to a boil, recover the pot and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes more or until the farro or potato is tender and cooked. Taste the liquid and adjust your seasonings adding in the black pepper at this time.
When you are ready to serve, ladle soup into a bowl and top with lots of fresh, chopped herbs and a drizzle of a good olive oil. I love the Sciabica Mediterranean Medley. But any good olive oil that you like will do. Warm up a nice, crusty bread and dig in!