Food & dining

Recipe for cabbage-bean soup

Food styling by Sheryl Julian and Valerie Ryan; Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Serves 6

The new “Elizabeth David on Vegetables,” compiled by Jill Norman, with the celebrated late British cookery writer’s recipes, offers a soup called Mayorquina. The dish is ancient, a specialty of Majorca, where it would have been made in an earthenware marmite or casserole, writes Norman. We love soups that cost pennies and seem to be made of nothing, then when you ladle them into bowls, they’re complex. We added white beans to make the dish more substantial, so it can be served as a meal. The dish thickens on standing, so add up to 2 cups water, if necessary.

3tablespoons olive oil
1leek, thinly sliced
1Spanish onion, thinly sliced
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
½green cabbage, cored and chopped
2quarts vegetable stock or water
½cup dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
1bay leaf tied with ½ bunch fresh thyme (reserve remaining ½ bunch for garnish)

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the leek, onion, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes.


3. Add the cabbage and stock or water. Bring to a boil. Add the beans and bay leaf bundle. Lower the heat, set on the cover askew, and simmer the soup for 1½ hours or until the cabbage is almost melted. Remove the herb bundle.

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4. Taste the soup for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Coarsely chop the remaining ½ bunch thyme and sprinkle it onto the soup.

Sheryl Julian. Adapted from “Elizabeth David on Vegetables”