I'm sure by now it comes as no surprise that my cooking style lends itself to rustic homey foods. In fact, if I'm completely honest, a lot of what I make is inspired by what I imagine I would be eating if my family was dining in the French countryside each night. Some people like to choose their meals by what's in season (and I'm fan of that too), and others base meals on a meat versus veggie equation, but when I cook I wonder if what I'm serving would be found on the chalkboard menu of a European farmhouse. Ridiculous, I know.
Soup is one of the foods that I know for a fact I would cook up if my family lived in rural France. In fact, when I did live there the family I worked for ate soup every single weeknight. Each and every one. It was always a puree of vegetables served alongside a wooden platter stuffed with crusty bread, pungent cheese, deli meats and small glass vessels of yogurt. There was no deviating from this menu and it was only on the weekends that heartier dinner fare was consumed.
Imagine how easy meal planning would be if you served the same foods for dinner each night? The soup changed based on what was in season at the market, naturally, and the mid-day meal was one of meat and vegetables, so the evening supper was something simple. I often tell Rob (all the time, actually!) that we should try to eat like the French family I lived with, for one week. We would make breakfast, lunch and dinner exactly as I remember them to be, and see how we did. Wouldn't that make for a fun series of blog posts?
Cabbage, White Bean and Bacon Soup
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 shallots, peeled and minced
- 4 cups cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups mini red potatoes, washed and diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cups white beans (canned or dried but cooked)
- 1/2 lb. bacon, diced
- 6 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons dried sage
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Place the butter and the oil in a large pot or dutch oven set over medium heat, and melt the butter.
2. Add the shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they are soft and translucent.
3. Add the cabbage, potatoes and carrots to the pot and stir to coat the vegetables lightly with oil. Cook for five minutes.
4. Add the beans, bacon, water, bay leaves and sage to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for one hour.
5. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and ladle into bowls.