Before I go any further with my love for this latest pantry possibility, I would just like to make an acknowledgement. The thought of cabbage traumatized us as children, and never quite left us. Lifeless in texture, dull in appearance and lacking in aroma, were our parents really that surprised to witness yet another ‘ham-acted’ performance of THE TUMMY ACHE. Such jarring memories, coupled with flashbacks of the infamous cabbage soup from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, was enough of a reason to send cabbage to the electric chair.
And then it took a single moment to all of change that. A few days ago my brother picked up a Savoy cabbage from our local farm in London (The farm at Osterley House – a beautiful gem of a place quietly tucked away in West London) Not withstanding its lofty origination’s, I had no intentions of going near it, ever! Famous last words…..
I had gone downstairs to prepare a light lunch, only to find a complete depletion of all the vegetables in the house. All but one, the humble cabbage. Looking at the snow outside and the cabbage inside, I had only one choice: to gracefully accept the ball of leaves.
The commitment was made and an opening was created for this vegetable to shine. This particular cabbage is mellower than its extended family and I discovered that it works well in a soup. Contrary to my beliefs it was golden in color, with a delicate aroma. It is a great starter or throw in a handful of rice and it is very satisfying as a main course.
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 medium potato
3 rashers of bacon (optional)
1 head of Savoy cabbage (sliced)
8 cups of chicken stock (can substitute for vegetable stock)
Handful of uncooked rice
1 knob of butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 cup water
1. Saute the garlic, bacon and potatoes until potatoes are golden
2. Add the sliced cabbage and salt, saute until it has begun to shrink (approx 5 mins)
3. Pour the stock in to the pan and simmer for 7 minutes
4. To make the thickening sauce, mix the flour and water and in a small bowl
5. In a separate pan, heat the butter and add the water/ flour mixture and cook until it becomes creamy in texture. Add to the soup pan.
6. Using a hand blender, give the soup a quick whizz
7. Throw in a handful of rice until cooked
8. Once the rice is cooked, discard the bacon and season with black pepper
Serve with toasted-buttered bread and add a knob of butter to finish the soup
Pearls of Wisdom
If the thickening sauce becomes lumpy, throw in to the blender.