Around these parts, spring doesn't feel too spring-y. Although I've bundled up to dig around in my garden and all signs point to longer and warmer days, I'm still making roaring fires and pots of hearty soup. This is one of my very favourite recipes, both at home and at the Cafe. It has a very comforting, rustic, yet somehow exotic taste, as if the recipe had been passed down by my Italian grandmother (I don't have an Italian grandmother, but I like to pretend). Obviously, this is a soup that wants the company of some crusty bread and a good grating of Parmesan cheese.
Jacob's Cattle Bean and Vegetable Soup
You can substitute just about any dried bean for the Jacob's Cattle beans in this recipe.
2 C. Dried Beans (we use Webster's Jacob's Cattle Beans)
16 C. Water
3 T. Olive Oil
1 large Onion, diced
3 stalks Celery, diced
2 medium Carrots, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 small Cabbage, shredded or diced
2 t. Salt
1 t. freshly ground Pepper
1/2 bunch Parsley, minced
Optional: 1-2 C. chopped cooked Ham, Sausage or Smoked Tofu
Bring beans and water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to simmer and
cook for two hours, until beans are tender and falling apart. Add the
cabbage to the pot with the beans and continue to simmer until tender, about
20 minutes longer. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute
the onions, carrot, celery and garlic until softened and beginning to brown.
Add the sautéed vegetables to the beans, along with the salt, pepper, parsley and
optional meat or tofu. Taste for seasoning, and let simmer another 20 minutes