Remember when everyone was doing that cabbage soup diet a few years ago? Where you could eat all the cabbage soup you wanted? But cabbage soup was the only thing you could eat?
It was a horrible diet. It came complete with a truly boring recipe for cabbage soup which - as you can imagine - got real old, real fast.
Yes. I speak from experience. I tried the diet and of course lost a few pounds right away. Who wouldn’t if all you are eating is basically cabbage and water? And of course, if you haven’t guessed it already, the weight came right back on the minute I branched out into non cabbage food groups.
One of the side effects of this diet (I’m sure you can guess what the other one was) is that it managed to put me off any soup featuring cabbage for quite a while.
I’m very happy to say that a few weekends ago I finally got over my cabbage soup aversion.
As I’ve mentioned our garden is bursting out of the seams with cabbages this year. When we arrived on Friday afternoon, I really hadn’t done any grocery shopping. A loaf of bread, a quart of milk and that was about it.
We had decided to just make do with what we found in the garden. Our version of living off the land.
I already reported on the lovely poached quinces. And the fennel salad. But it was Saturday lunch where cabbage made a stellar appearance in the form of soup.
Soup made sense, since it had just started to turn chilly. And the cappuccio al cuore, a heart shaped savoy type of cabbage, was ready to be picked. (actually six of them were ready to be picked. We always over plant) But I also grabbed a huge bunch of cavolo nero, to offset the sweetness of the savoy.
Lacking both onions and garlic, I made do with leeks. And I was happy to add a few of the very last zucchini and tomatoes before the frost set in for good.
The soup couldn’t have been easier. (If you don’t count the planting, taking care of, and harvesting the cabbages that is.) It was an extremely cabbagey soup, as is to be expected. But also suprisingly delicious. (Maybe because I wasn’t being forced to eat it?)
I’m not sure if it was the ‘living off the land’ aspect of this dish that added to it’s appeal. It just tasted Good. With a capital G. As my friend Jane said, “It’s like eating health.”
That’s my kind of diet.
Cabbage Soup from the Garden(or from your farmer’s market)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 big leeks, chopped
1 head savoy cabbage, cored and chopped
1 large bunch of cavolo nero (kale), stripped of it’s thick stem and chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
4 small tomatoes (or 4 canned pelati)
2 hot peppers
Salt and pepper
Pour oil in large soup pan and add leeks and hot peppers. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Add the zucchini and tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, and the cabbage.
Add water. Just enough so that it covers the cabbage. Give it a good stir, cover and simmer at low heat for an hour.
Taste and adjust for seasonings.
You can serve it as is. And it will be VERY healthy. Or, even better, serve with a big dollop of room temperature ricotta.
And an extra swirl of olive oil goes without saying.