Ham and Cabbage soup
The last couple of weeks have seen us shifting gears, while making the most of the rest of the summer holidays, also preparing for the return to school (for the kids anyway!). So our days were a mixture of morning surfing and afternoon shopping for school supplies. The kids hung out with their friends (as opposed to attend organised camps), for some precious “chilling” time, we squeezed some serious dining out, enjoying our last days of “not having to get up at dawn tomorrow”…which meant that cooking was minimal and on the easy side.
Then came the day when I decided to survey the contents of the fridge, intending to get rid of the old and make room for the new. Obviously some of it needed to go (out of date eggs and mouldy cheese), but a lot was still in pretty good condition and since I hate wasting food, I had a ball coming up with ways to accommodate the leftovers. Starting with a big chunk of Ham, that had been given to us for New Year’s Eve and I had kept in the fridge (wrapped in a pillow case to maintain freshness). It had already been sliced to the bone, made into sandwiches, quiche fillings, pasta bakes, fried rice garnish…but still had a fair amount of meat on it, not mentioning the smoky rind, so the only logical thing to do with it was a soup. Add the cabbage, carrots, onions and celery in the vegetable tray, and the obvious choice was: cabbage soup.
This soup is an earnest soup, not the diet-kind you read about in the Cabbage Soup diet. It has chicken stock and chunks of ham (including the rind) for flavour, vegetables galore for goodness, and vinegar for extra zing! The kids initially turned their nose up at the mere mention of cabbage soup, but were won over by the smell and the smoky bits of ham floating around…Verdict? Empty bowls. Marc : “Job well done, Mum”. Anne: “Is there more?” This will definitely reappear on the winter menu.
Ham and Cabbage Soup
Serves 6-8 as entrée (or 4 as a single course)
1.5 litres chicken stock
500g ham on the bone (bigger is fine, it will tastes more “bacony”)
4 cups water
3 tsp allspice
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp marjoram
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and minced
3 celery stalks, trimed and minced
1 onion, peeled and minced
2 cups white cabbage, shredded
- Place the ham bone, chicken stock, water, allspice, bay leaves and marjoram in a stockpot (I use my Le Creuset dutch oven). Bring to the boil and simmer on low heat for about 2 hours. Remove the ham bone and set aside to cool. Skim some of the fat from the stock (leave some though, it adds flavour!)
- Add vinegar and sweet potato to stock, simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and cabbage and simmer for another 20 mintes. In the meantime, pick out the meat from the ham bone, peel the rind and chop roughly. Keep aside. Add the reserved meat and rind to the pot, and simmer for a final 10 minutes. Season to taste.
- Serve warm with fresh bread. Enjoy!