Thursday, March 19, 2009
If I told you that I got an eight year old to eat cabbage and silver beet (Swiss chard) at the same time and admit they actually enjoyed it, would you believe me?
I wouldn't have...until I watched my daughter sit down and demolish a whole bowl of this vegetable goodness. Proving it was no fluke, she ate a second bowl a night later. Which, incidentally, is when this soup is supposed to be at its peak.
It all started at a farmer's market when my wife bought a good looking bunch of black cabbage (cavolo nero), which promptly went into the fridge. By the second day it was starting to wilt a little, so I cast around for a recipe and stumbled upon Antonio Carlucciio's version of ribollita, re-boiled cabbage soup, so named because it tastes best reheated the day after it's made.
It also tastes pretty darn good the day it's made too!
Chock full of vegetables, which seemingly merge in a way so that no one distinctive flavour stands out. With a slice of toasted bread, this soup becomes a meal in itself. Even for cabbage hating eight year olds.
(adapted from Antonio Carluccio's Vegetables)
1 bunch black cabbage (cavolo nero)
2 400g tins cannellini beans
2 small or 1 large leek, washed and sliced into thin discs
2-3 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
olive oil as required
2 large white potatoes, diced
2 zucchini, diced
400g tomatoes, pulped
1/2 bunch silver beet (Swiss chard), green part only, sliced
few stalks fresh thyme
slices of stale bread, toasted
Remove the tough white stalk from the black cabbage.
In a large pot, place the leek, carrot and celery with 50ml of olive oil and gently sweat for 10 minutes, do not colour. Add the potato, zucchini, black cabbage tomato pulp and enough water to cover and gently simmer for one hour. Add the silver beet and thyme, simmer for another 20 minutes Puree one tin of beans in a blender with some of the soup water, add to the soup along with the other tin of beans and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.
Add some salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Place a slice of toasted bread in a soup bowl and ladle the soup on top. Drizzle on some olive oil and if liked, a few more grindings of black pepper.
*in Carluccio's version, he makes no mention of water