Tuesday, 29 January 2013

belleau minestrone

day sixteen: 13.9 stone (181lbs) - like a rusty old cog, it's taken an age to start moving...

... I bought a white cabbage in mid-december with every intention to make bucket-loads of coleslaw for christmas but once we'd bought our tickets to go and visit dad in california I kind of forgot about planning anything after christmas-day lunch so the cabbage went into the bottom of the fridge and sat their forlornly whilst we went away... and then a further week when we were back, sadly mewling at me every time I opened the fridge door...

... and there's just one thing that springs to mind when I see those slabs of giant white cabbages and that's minestrone... and it's been an age since i've made a large pan-load of the stuff.  This soup is ideal for those with little time on their hands but still want something incredible to eat when they get home.  I tend to make as large a pot of this as I can on an evening, after i've eaten so that I'm not tempted to grab a bowl and then it lasts for a few meals over the next few days... it's entirely vegetarian so it's a meal for both of us and it's packed with bucket-loads of veg and fresh herbs so it improves in flavour as the hours tick by... and at the end of a hard day there is nothing better than knowing I have a bowl of the good stuff waiting for me on the stove...

belleau minestrone
like most soups here at belleau, this one is made up of anything that's left in the fridge and the pasta cupboard and there's something wonderfully satisfying about making space in that pasta cupboard isn't there?  It means you can fill it with other crap that falls out and throws itself all over the floor when you open the door... the secret to this bowl of fabulousness is the large teaspoon of dried oregano... it adds a punch that you don't get from fresh and once you've grated some cheese on top it tastes a lot like pizza soup... if that's a good thing...

1/2 large white cabbage - cut and sliced into bits
1 large onion - finely chopped
1 large teaspoon dried oregano
1 large carrot - diced
2 large sticks of celery - diced
1 leek - sliced and diced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
a handful of frozen peas
a handful of macaroni
2 pints good quality vegetable stock
fresh rosemary and thyme
2 bay leaves

in your largest soup pan saute the onions in a little butter and olive oil and throw the oregano and chopped fresh herbs in at this stage and let those flavours mingle

add the carrots, celery and leeks, stir around, place the lid on and let the veg sweat for 5 or 6 minutes until soft

add the tinned toms, the cabbage, the bay leaves and the stock and let it bubble gently for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat, add the pasta and the peas and let it sit for at least an hour before re-heating and eating, if not over night.

clearly i'm entering this bowl, packed full of herbs, into our Karen's lovely Herbs on a Saturday...hosted this month by Vanesther at Bangers and Mash...  it's a bit of an institution over at Lavender and Lovage and encourages us all to use more herbs when we cook...

eat and of course, enjoy!



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