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.
Tomato season is over for us. It’s been over for a couple of weeks. I would be devastated but for the fact that I ate a couple hundred pounds of them while they were going strong and ended on a high note with my tomato tart experiments. The last version, the one I’m going to share with you, I made for our friends who are moving out of state. I needed to make something memorable enough that they’ll be inspired to come back and visit us.
It’s super easy unless you have to make your pesto from scratch, plus make your own ricotta (as I usually do), and then, of course, there’s the crust to make. Wait! Seriously, none of those things are difficult to make and if you’re not up to making them all yourself you can buy them pre-made. If tomato season is already over for you too then you have two choices: bookmark this for next year or if you happen to have any sundried or oven roasted tomatoes in your freezer- you can top the tarts with those. Whatever you do, don’t use hothouse tomatoes from the store. Banish the thought!
Preheat the oven to 375°. Cut the pie dough into six equal sized pieces. Roll out and fit into the tart pans. Put all the filled tins into the freezer for 20 minutes.
Blend the ricotta with the pesto until completely incorporated.
Remove the tart tins from the freezer and fill each one with the ricotta, dividing it evenly between them all. Smooth the surface of the ricotta out in each tin. Arrange three slices of tomatoes on the top and brush with olive oil.
Arrange on a baking sheet (to catch any spillage) and bake for one hour (or until the crust is golden).
If you’re using a 9? tart tin, arrange the tomatoes slightly overlapping each other starting with the outer edge and work your way to the center in a spiral. You may notice the lack of additional salt or pepper in this recipe- that’s because pesto is usually already salted and peppered and it is enough for the whole dish. I did salt and pepper the tomatoes in one version but I didn’t think it added anything to the tarts. I freeze the dough before baking because it keeps it from shrinking down in the oven while baking. If you never have this issue and prefer to refrigerate before filling, as most recipes suggest, go ahead and do that. Many ricotta recipes call for an egg to help set it up but I find this is usually unnecessary. Sometimes when I make my own ricotta I add a little bit of milk when stirring it up because it gets a bit dry after draining off the whey, so if your ricotta is homemade, make sure it’s not dry- it’s going to cook for an hour which will dry it out more.