Daniel Patterson, Coi
1 tablespoon neutral oil
2 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ pound ground pork (or cubed extra firm tofu)
1 head cabbage (about 2 ½ pounds), chopped in 1 inch pieces
4 quarts water
1 each 1 pound loaf rye, the crusts removed and interior cut in 1 inch pieces and dried
This is an everyday soup that can adapt to all sorts of seasonings. It’s also a great way to use old bread. At our house, we can never finish a whole loaf of bread, so we take the crusts off and cut it into pieces and dry it. Then we throw it into a soup or a stew. The bread thickens the broth, breaking down into a really appealing texture.
Cook the chopped bacon in the oil until half-cooked (if you cook it until crispy it will lose the sweetness and the smoky flavors). Add the onion, carrot and garlic and a little salt and cook for five minutes, until softened. Add the ground pork and cook, stirring, until the pork is broken up. Add the water, cabbage and some salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until the cabbage is tender. Add the bread and cook for another five minutes, until it’s broken up and dispersed throughout. Season with salt, black pepper, and whatever else you like. You can also leave out the bacon and sub in tofu for the pork to keep the dish vegetarian. I prefer a little white wine vinegar, but you could also use parsley, thyme, grated cheese, good olive oil or whatever else you prefer. Or nothing else. This soup gets even better the next day.