One of the things I enjoy when it's raining outside is to make soup. This one, Country Bean and Cabbage Soup, is a family favorite for a couple of reasons. First of all, it makes a LOT! If you are expecting a hungry hoard to arrive, for example within a few days before Christmas, this is the perfect hearty meal to have waiting in the fridge. That's another reason; it tastes even better a day or two after it's made so you can make it before the rush of activities that come with the hoards. A third reason is that it is delicious and used good-for-you beans and cabbage. If you only have the tail end of a ham to go into the pot as I did, that's OK, too. The ham bone contributes a great flavor to the soup. I was out of parsley when I made it...it still tasted fine, but it's even better with parsley. I think the recipe originally came from the Six Minute Soufflé Cookbook, but don't quote me on that.
New on the home front includes work that Sweetie did today to fit a dog door into our new utility room entry door. He still needs to replace the door jamb and threshold and I still need to paint it all, but it brings us closer to being able to have a dog again. I'm finding it hard to wait.
Other news includes my labors today (in the sun since it rained yesterday when I was making the soup but not today) of potting up 64 seedlings into larger peat pots with more potting soil. Most were various varieties of heirloom tomato, but a few where golden chard and rainbow chard seedlings. So far I only have one lemon cucumber seedling, but I hope a few more sprout soon. I'm looking forward to a big garden and a lot of fun giving seedlings away to friends and neighbors.
Country Bean & Cabbage Soup
2 1/3 cup dry pea beans (Great Northern, white beans)
1 3-lb cooked picnic ham, bone in
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 carrots, quartered and sliced
5 sprigs parsley + 2 bay leaves tied together
2 medium onion, sliced, plus 1 onion stuck with 3 whole cloves
4 garlic cloves, mashed
½ teaspoon EACH dried thyme & ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small head green cabbage, sliced in 1/4” slices
Cover beans with cold water and let stand overnight.
Drain, cover with fresh water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and soak for 1 hour.
Drain & rinse; return beans to the pot.
Add ham. Add enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a low simmer and simmer 15 minutes.
Add the vegetables, herbs, onions and seasonings to pot. Cover and simmer 1 ½ hours.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer ½ hour. If tomatoes stay whole, chop them up with a spoon.
Add the cabbage and simmer ½ hour.
Make a roux of 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons flour, cooked in a small pan until light brown. Add it to soup.
Remove herb bouquet and whole onion. Simmer 15 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and/or pepper as needed.