Please accept my sincere apologies for highly underestimating you, for close-mindidly deeming you useful only for cole slaw, and for making you wait months in the vegetable bin before finally putting you to good use.
If only I’d known how when cooked down in a soup you become meltingly tender to a downright ridiculously addictive point, perhaps I wouldn’t have shown such blatant favoritism toward your Brassica cousins. I only hope my ignorance hasn’t caused you too much pain, though if you’d like the name of a good therapist I can happily pass one along.
You’ve no doubt been aware of my recent Ottolenghi obession and how much I’m loving his recipes from Plenty. So please take this as a huge compliment when I say I truly believe the addition of your shredded self greatly improved his recipe for chickpea and tomato soup! See, his recipe was actually for chickpea, tomato and bread soup, which presented a food guilt dilemma on my part (how I hate those). You know how I simply cannot enjoy a bowl of soup without a huge hunk of bread alongside. Olive oil-drizzled, garlic-rubbed bread preferably. So my issue was – if there’s bread in the soup, and alongside the soup (a given), will I have a food guilt (i.e. too much bread) issue? Thus I skipped the toasted bread cubes, rummaged around my produce bins and found you lurking in the back, displaced after a last-minute menu change from a few months back.
Your contribution to this soup was so outstanding that I’d like to give you a title promotion. How do you like the sound of ‘Director of Underrated Vegetables’? Maybe you could work with Parsnip over there, I mean I know the season’s changed and all but there’s gotta be something we can do.
In any case, I hope you’ll at least accept my apology because I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again real soon.
Best, All Seasons Cuisine
P.S. – Buon Appetito!
cabbage, chickpea, and tomato soup
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, thick outer layer removed, sliced
- 1/2 head green cabbage, cored, thinly sliced
- about 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large carrot, peeled, cut lengthwise in half and sliced
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 14oz can Italian plum or crushed tomatoes
- 1 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 Tbs parsley, chopped
- 1 Tbs thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp sugar
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned are fine too)
- 4 Tbs basic basil pesto (freshly made preferred but store-bought is ok)
1. Heat 3-4 Tbs of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel and cabbage. Season with salt. Saute until cabbage begins to break down and onion begins to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and let it reduce 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, herbs, sugar, stock, and some more salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently 30 minutes.
3. Add half the chickpeas to a food processor with 2 Tbs olive oil and a pinch of salt. Puree until you have a hummus-like puree. Stir puree into the soup. Add remaining whole chickpeas into the soup and simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as you like.
4. To serve, remove bay leaves, and ladle soup into bowls and add dollops of the basil pesto.
Serve with toasted garlic bread.
Loosely adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty