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Maria’s Recipes: Cabbage & Bean Soup with Parmesan and Chilli

Ingredients

-4 medium Desiree or red potatoes (chopped into small chunks)
-1/2 medium cabbage (cored and thinly sliced)
-1 brown onion (halved and sliced thinly)
-400gram can of cannelini beans (drained and rinsed)
-400gram can of diced tomatoes
-1 carrot (chopped into small chunks)
-1 stick of celery (chopped)
-3 cloves of fresh garlic (grated or minced)
-2 tablespoon’s oil
-1 litre of chicken stock (I make it up from Massel’s chicken stock powder)
-Grated parmesan cheese to generously sprinkle on top when serving (I like about a tablespoon per bowl, but adjust according to your tastes)
-Dried chilli flakes, about a pinch per bowl, served right at the end
Optional: Finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish and another dimension of flavour
-A buttered french baguette is nice with this soup, but I don’t always have the bread..it isn’t necessary

Instructions

-Heat oil in your soup pot and saute chopped potatoes and carrots until you see some colour in your potatoes, at least 5 minutes.
-Add sliced onions and chopped celery, cook another two or three minutes.
-Add garlic, stir and cook-off for a minute, being careful not to burn or give it any colour.
-Add drained & rinsed cannelini beans, tinned tomatoes and chicken stock.
-Season with salt and pepper to your tastes (.. if your stock powder has a fair amount of salt in it..you may not need to add much).
-Let soup ingredients bubble on the stove for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft enough to eat.
-Add thinly sliced cabbage, cover and bubble away for another 5 minutes or so. You just want it to be wilted..and not ‘mush’. The cabbage will still have some texture without it being crunchy.
-The soup is ready to eat when the cabbage is done, but it improves while ‘sitting’. If I can spare the time, I’ll let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes before dishing up.. or alternatively, let it sit for 5 minutes in your serving bowls before adding the toppings.
-Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle over about a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of chilli flakes over each serving.
-Optional: Sprinkle over some finely chopped fresh parsley as the final garnish, for colour and an extra flavour dimension and/or serve with pieces of buttered French-style baguette.
-Leftovers are wonderful the next day! For meatlover’s, cut coins of continental sausage into the soup when you add the cabbage…eg. kabana, cabanossi, chorizo.