Every week, we’re unearthing Heirloom Recipes -- dishes that have made their way from one generation's kitchen to the next.
My Aunt Carol is the undisputed cook in our family. It's true that many of us enjoy the art of preparing food, but she has a special knack for it and has definitely inspired me over the years. She handles the turkey at holiday time like a boss, bakes the best chocolate cake for birthdays, and always makes sure there's some thoughtfully prepared vegetables in the mix for balance. Even as kids, dinner at her house was never a “do we have to go?” kind of affair.
She makes this cabbage soup all through the winter up until the first cool and damp days of spring. I remember working in the garden center of my Dad's store in early May a couple years ago. It was raining, cold, and miserable. I was sporting my dad's flannel coat and steadily shivering, completely distracted from the work at hand. Lunchtime rolled around and this soup was heating up on the burner inside. Once I got to sit up on a counter and hover over a bowl of that soup with a crust of bread, I immediately felt revived.
When I asked her about it, she didn't have a totally parsed out recipe. There were a few crucial components -- the soup's base is always cabbage, beans, and crushed tomatoes. Any vegetable, grain, herb, and spice additions can shift according to availability. I like to maintain the wintry feel and reach for fresh rosemary, lots of garlic, and a pinch or two of chili flakes if I'm feeling a cold coming on. It's nice to have a batch in the fridge or freezer during the crush of holiday time. A quick hour at the stove will provide some peaceful stolen moments of nourishment, which we could all probably use a few of.
Cabbage and White Bean Soup
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 medium cooking onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 leek, white + light green parts only, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 sprig rosemary, leaves minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 liter vegetable stock
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
2 cups cooked white beans
1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.