soup is a cornerstone of this diet, because it's a delicious, cheap,
very filling, nutritious dish using a fibrous local Northern vegetable
that can be stored over the winter as the pioneers did. The Western
habit of eating salad in winter depends on bulky airlifted produce,
which is one thing I find environmentally obscene. The recipe does
include celery, which I know comes from the south in winter, but
there are alternatives, which I have a whole page for here.
This soup is vaguely a borscht, with a sweet & sour tang and a red-tinged broth. I've settled on tomato paste as cheap and the right tomato-iness for us. I used to freeze cubes of crushed tomatoes and use five or so in a batch of soup. And until they're used up I have a stack of flat bags of tomatoes from my garden in the freezer.
This soup keeps for a week (as I
think most everything does). I used to freeze it, but the cabbage gets
a bit rubbery, so if you can't use twelve bowls in a week, consider
cutting the recipe in half. Everyone I've served it to has enjoyed it, so it
has as much flavor as people who are used to canned soups expect.
• 2 large onions
• 2 cloves of good garlic (or 1/2 head of garlic from China!)
• 2 stalks of celery or alternative
• 2 large carrots
• 1/4 cup olive or grape seed oil
• tablespoon of sea salt
• lots of black pepper
• 1 small can of tomato paste, or 2-3 cups diced tomatoes
• 5 bay leaves
• 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 cup of brown sugar
• large whole cabbage (1 1/2 if they're smallish)
• parsley fresh or dried
1. Boil two quarts of water in a kettle.
2. Dice 2 large onions and 1/2 head of garlic.
3. Slice 2 stalks of celery and 2 large carrots.
4. Cover the bottom of an 8-quart pot with olive or grape seed oil and stir-fry the garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. Add at least a tablespoon of sea salt and lots of black pepper. When hot, not tender, pour in the boiling water and boil another kettle of water.
5. Add tomato paste, 5 bay leaves, 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the pot and boil.*
6. Slice a whole cabbage as small as you'll be comfortable eating. Put it in the pot as you get it sliced, and add the second kettle of water after it's boiling.
7. If you have fresh parsley, chop a good bunch in. Otherwise throw in a handful of dried parsley.
8. Cover the pot and boil the heck out of it. It's done when the celery is no longer hard and the thick parts of the cabbage are a bit translucent. The pot can cool overnight on the counter before you store it in the fridge.
Makes 10-12 bowls.
*If you're balking at the half cup of brown sugar (we are talking eight quarts of soup here) and 3/4 cup of cider vinegar (supposed to have all sorts of special health benefits, I found out after the fact) one reader suggested replacing the sugar with diced apples. Not so cheap and I think you'd need quite a few apples. I have psoriasis and I avoid sugar, but I don't try to remove every molecule from my diet.
Salt and pepper the frying veggies. Add the first kettle of boiling water. Then add all the flavor stuff.
Your veggies are boiling hard, smelling great. In goes the cabbage.
Top it up with another kettle of boiling water, depending on how big and dense the cabbage was. Put the lid on and let it boil an hour or so – until the veggies are the way you like them.