Though winter in Phoenix seldom gets very bitter cold, it is still wonderful to have some nourishing savory soups to enjoy when the temperatures go for a southward dip (especially this past weekend, with overcast skies, rain and the chill). One of my family's absolute favorites is this Slovenian cabbage bacon soup, adapted from a recipe I first saw in the September 2006 issue of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine (how I have missed you, Gourmet!). I have made some adjustments which I feel adds more punch to the soup. Everyone whom I had made this soup for had loved it and asked for the recipe. It is an easy recipe to make too: all in one pot, with just some chopping involved!
Slovenian Cabbage and Bacon Soup
Adapted from Silva Cigoj Arkade Farm, Crnice.
- 12 oz smoked bacon, preferably nitrate- and nitrite-free
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (I always use more!)
- 4 large organic red potatoes
- 8 cups finely chopped cabbage (about 1/2 large head)
- 4 carrots, diced
- large handful of italian flat parsley, finely chopped (reserve a tablespoon for sprinkling)
- 1 (19-0z) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (if I'm feeling virtuous, I make this from scratch)
- 2 salt-free vegetable boullion cubes
- 6 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook in large pot over medium heat, stirring often. In the meantime, chop the onions, mince the garlic, peel and dice potatoes and carrots, and chop the cabbage and italian parsley.
- Just when the bacon pieces begin to get crispy, add chopped onions and cook, stirring often until soft (no additional oil is needed, just cook in rendered bacon grease). Next add the minced garlic and saute quickly.
- When garlic begins to turn golden (oh the aromas! This is about the time when the girls come trooping through the kitchen, noses bobbing in the air, asking what that mouth-watering smell is?), add the chopped cabbage, diced potatoes and carrots, drained kidney beans and stir around so everything gets coated in some of that bacon grease. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Add the water, pop in the bouillon cubes (you can also be diligent and make your vegetable or chicken broth ahead and use that instead) and bring the soup to a boil.
- Cover partially and continue to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are just tender. Stir once or twice while waiting impatiently. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired, then stir in parsley and let simmer a minute more.
- If desired, sprinkle more minced parsley over soup before serving. This soup is great with a crusty bread or buttermilk biscuits, and a big green salad.