I recommend you use dried beans. You don’t have to. But you should. Why? Because they’re cheaper than canned, because you should not be making your food in a hurry. If you don’t like to be bothered, you can always make this in a crock pot. Though I doubt it will all fit in one. So don’t do that. Really, bother with it. This soup is so easy on the budget, so wonderfully healing and warming, and stirring soup over the stove for two hours settles nerves, makes you slow down, and if you like you can read a favorite book while you stir, or talk to your pets (or children). Or read them your favorite book. Unless your favorite book is Anna Karenina. No one needs to read that when the fall hours grow dark, unless you have a pack of Galois cigarettes and bitter black coffee at your elbow.
This soup has everything you need in a meal if you can’t pull anything else together. It isn’t heavy but it’s substantial enough to hold you up. The cabbage cooks so long that it becomes unbelievably tender. It’s excellent with some Parmesan and toast.
3 quarts water (or vegetable, beef, or chicken stock)
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
5 med. potatoes of any variety, diced into 1/2? cubes
1 cup navy beans (or 1 can prepared navy beans/northern beans)
1 head of cabbage, cored and chopped to 1? size pieces
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
In a large soup pot warm the olive oil and add the onion and carrots. Saute them until they begin to brown a little.
Add 3 quarts of water, bring to a boil.
Add everything else. (If you’re using canned beans you can add these near the end).
Cook for a really long time, stirring occasionally and making sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Keep your eye on the thickness of the soup, the water will cook down and you may need to add a little water from time to time. You want the soup to have some body so add water two cups at a time, as needed.
This soup took two hours to cook. (If you use canned beans it will take only 45 minutes.) The soup is done when the beans are tender.
If you aren’t used to winging it with water quantities in soup then I think you should read my post about soup philosophy. It will help you. Soup is a flexible and incredibly personal dish. There is no soup recipe that can’t be altered to your personal tastes. All soup recipes are merely suggestions. Guidelines. Never be afraid to adjust it.
Getting summer colds is the pits. Just when you think you’re out of the woods you get smacked in the head with congestion, headaches, a sore throat, and low energy. As everyone knows, you can’t cure a cold. The strategy should always be to lessen the symptoms and the duration of the cold as much as possible. So when I woke up at 4am three nights ago with all the symptoms of a cold coming on suddenly, I immediately took a bunch of nasty-huge multi vitamins meant to boost the immune system (the ones I use are “Wellvitamins” and I only use them when coming down with something because they’re very expensive) and I drink lots of elderberry syrup, water, and sometimes I make up some ginger and honey tea or sage and honey tea.
That’s all well and good, but if you feed yourself crap while doing all the other good things you should be doing, it’s like shooting yourself in the foot. First thing you should do when you feel like you’re coming down with any kind of cold or flu is make soup. I believe that all soups have healing powers, even the cheesy ones, but if you’re getting sick I’d like to recommend making a vegetable soup full of vitamin C, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Like this cabbage and garlic soup I’m sharing here.
Cabbage is full of vitamin A, C, calcium, and potassium. Tomatoes are full of vitamin A (!!!), vitamin C, and (you guessed it) potassium. Potatoes are full of vitamin C and more Potassium than cabbage and tomatoes combined. Carrots don’t have much vitamin C to speak of but as everyone knows they are crammed with vitamin A and what many people may not know is that they are also quite rich in potassium. All the ingredients in this soup will fill you with vitamins and minerals. The navy beans are rich in calcium, phosphorous, and more potassium than any body could need.
The garlic (there’s a lot of it in this soup) is great for boosting the immune system and cayenne pepper is great for purifying your blood and helping it circulate better. In addition to that, the cayenne will help loosen phlegm which will help clear your sinuses.
28 oz can of diced tomatoes (or 1 quart of home canned)
12 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp oregano
Heat the oil in a large soup pot on med/high heat and add the onion and bay leaves. Saute until the onions lightly brown.
Add the water, beans, and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to med/low and cook until beans are tender. The time may vary, for me it was about one hour. Be sure to check on them and stir them while cooking.
Add everything else into the pot and turn heat back up to med/high. At this point it should be soupy but the amount of water you need may vary depending on how much of it cooked off while cooking the beans. All the vegetables should be completely covered with broth.
Bring the soup back to a boil and then turn the heat down a little and let it cook until all the vegetables are tender. Probably about 30 minutes.
This soup makes 10 servings. I don’t make small batches of soup because we eat it for leftovers and sometimes freeze it. You can easily halve this recipe. I used 12 cloves of garlic but you can use more. Do it! The next time I make this soup I plan to increase the garlic up to an entire head. Once the soup is cooked through it doesn’t seem very garlicky.
Play with the amount of cayenne. A very little can be really hot so go cautiously. It should be hot enough to make you sweat a little and make your nose run after you eat it. It should not be so hot that it’s painful to eat and burns a hole in your eye socket. Unless you like pain like that, I won’t judge.
If you are inexperienced making soups I suggest you read my soup philosophy post- it will help you understand soups better and give you the confidence to play with them.