Do you recall my second rule for healthy eating at the cottage? This isn’t a quiz, so I’ll tell you right now the answer is to make big pots of soup, preferably first thing in the morning before it’s too hot out, so your rustic (i.e. non air-conditioned) temporary abode has a chance to cool down before evening. You can eat soup over several days, and freeze any extra for a quick meal later in your stay. I made this cabbage and kale soup, a practical workhorse of a dish if ever I’ve seen one, during the last week of our vacation, and actually brought two frozen containers of it home with me. It’s now tucked away in the freezer for when a soup craving hits.
I had bought a big bunch of kale to make this salad, in keeping with my first rule for cottage cooking. I didn’t want the rest of it to go to waste, so I decided to use it in a hearty soup. This isn’t a fancy or delicate soup, rather it’s more of a labourer in the soup workforce. After all, it contains a whole small cabbage, and if that doesn’t constitute heavy lifting, I don’t know what does. With onion, garlic and tomatoes, along with the kale and cabbage, it’s straightforwardly nourishing. The only whimsical touch about it was the chopped apple. To tell you the truth (and don’t I always?), I was hoping it would add a light fruity note, but in fact the apple took on the other flavours of the soup. Perhaps if I had added it closer to the end of the cooking time it might have contributed more apple flavour and some crispness of texture. Or, perhaps I should have left it out altogether. You can be the judge of that.
We ate this soup on our last night at the cottage, and then went for a walk along the beach where Mother Nature treated us to the most glorious sunset. Oh, the cliché: the romantic stroll along the beach at sunset (yes, handholding was involved). I’m not sure that a bowl of cabbage & kale soup really fits into that scenario, but I did want to treat you to this photo of the Culinary Enthusiast bidding farewell to Lake Huron. Until we return, not only do we have soup in the freezer, but we also have this memory of beauty at the shore.
Cabbage & Kale Soup
This recipe makes a large pot of soup, more than two people can reasonably eat in a few days. So, pop a few containers in the freezer to enjoy in the future when you need a quick and nourishing hot meal. Confession time: I forgot to write down how much water I added to the soup. It was at least two tomato cans-full. So, add enough to have a thick soup but not a stew.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small green cabbage, trimmed, cored, cut into about 8 sections, then sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 2 small bunches of kale, sliced (include the stems if they’re tender)
- Optional: a handful or two of green beans, trimmed & cut into bite-size pieces (we had some that needed using up)
- 1 large can (796 ml) whole tomatoes (run a knife through the can to roughly chop them)
- 2 tomato cans-full of water (or more if needed to achieve the consistency you like)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 medium apple, sliced and then diced
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over low heat, then add the onion and garlic. Stir occasionally while you prepare the rest of the vegetables; you want to sweat the aromatics, but not let them brown. Add the rest of the ingredients except the apple and cider vinegar. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat to low and let it cook until the cabbage is tender, at least 30 minutes. About 10 minutes before serving time add the apple and cider vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.