Yes, it’s April. Yes, it was snowing last week. No, it’s not yet time to put the soup pot in the back of the cupboard, so why not another version of cabbage soup. This one has a slightly more Mediterranean vibe than my Polish/Scandinavian version as it uses cannellini beans, rosemary and a bit of tomato paste.
It seems to me that everyone is using mortar and pestles these days, going back to the natural way of things I guess. I decided to give it a go with this soup, so rather than chopping the garlic and rosemary I bashed it up with some salt and some parley stalks and a few sprigs of thyme I had laying around. I heard on one of the hundred cooking shows I watch, and it stands to reason, that a paste will distribute flavors better in a liquid, like a sauce, soup or stew, than just the chopped ingredients themselves. It also saves you from those stray rosemary leaves which get stuck in your teeth and are like chewing on a juniper bush – hoorah! It took a bit of elbow grease to bash up those hearty rosemary leaves, but I think ultimately it was worth it.
The standard soup rules apply to begin with: brown meat of choice (in this case pork sausages), remove meat and sauté onions until soft, then add cabbage and sauté until slight wilted. Then it strays a bit because I removed the onions and cabbage and added the herbs, garlic and spices (here it was thyme, rosemary, parsley stems, garlic, salt and pepper) to the pan and sautéed for a minute or two. Then I added the carrots and gave them a bit of color. Then I added the onion cabbage mixture back in along with a tablespoon of tomato paste and the beans. Then I poured in chicken stock (home made if at all possible) to cover and simmered until cabbage and carrots were soft, about 30-40 minutes.
The herbs and garlic gave this otherwise simple soup a bit of complexity and it was delicious with a dollop of créme fraîche and plenty of chopped parsley. Perfect for a snowy April evening – good grief, that’s a sad sentence.