This is a hearty bean and barley soup with a silk cabbage and ham broth. To liven it up, I finished it with a topping of quickly sauteed garlicy kale and a dusting of parmesan cheese snow. —Fairmount_market
medium onion, chopped
can of chopped tomatoes
small or 1/2 regular sized cabbage, cored and chopped
Heat a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium heat. Melt the butter and saute the barley grains for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the onion and saute until very soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt and saute for about five minutes. Add the water, cabbage, and ham bone. Bring to a boil and then simmer on very low, mostly covered, for about 2 hours.
Add the carrots, celery, and cranberry beans. Continue simmering on very low for another 2 hours until the beans are tender but not mushy. You could also cook the soup in a slow cooker on low for a total of about 6 hours.
To finish the soup, remove the ham bone or ham hock, shred the meat from the bone, and return the meat to the pot. Taste and add more salt as needed. Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (about 1 Tbsp).
Shortly before serving the soup, prepare the garlicy kale topping. Cut the kale leaves from the center stem and slice them into 1/2 inch ribbons. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and when it is hot, add the minced garlic. Saute for about one minute and then add the kale and a pinch of salt. Saute until the kale is just wilted, about five minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Serve the hot soup with a generous spoonful of sauteed kale on top and a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.
I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: fairmountmarket.blogspot.com. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.