Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Poor Man's Soup

Before you read this entry please feel free to go back and read my post about the yummy Irish Soda bread I whipped up a few days ago as it makes a second appearance in this dish. This Irish girl can throw some Irish dishes together too! That bread was just the start of the meal that I made last night and I think it complimented the recipe quite nicely.

As I mentioned previously I wanted to attempt some Irish concoctions this year, and I really do love cabbage so I didn't think it would be too difficult to find an intriguing dish. Right I was! There were so many delicious recipes to choose from that I ended up going with this one because it not only had cabbage but onions and white beans, two favorite ingredients of mine. I really don't eat alot of meat so I enjoy making up for the protein with almost all varieties of beans!

Some things that I learned while finding this recipe is the various kinds of cabbages and how they each hold up in dishes. There is a green and white cabbage used commonly in coleslaw or soup/stew, a different variety for Asian cooking (napa) and then Savoy cabbage which is known to hold up well for cabbage rolls or roasting. It's also important to note that cabbage is chocked full of Vitamin C and fiber! This recipe, although a soup, called for Savoy cabbage. I knew that erin's mom would be making the traditional cornbeef and cabbage later this week, so I wanted to try a different cabbage in a different format. perfect.

Just seeing the name of the dish: Italian Peasant Soup with Cabbage, Beans & Cheese, I knew that the flavors were going to be cozy and comforting. I opted to go without the fontina cheese (due to budget constraints :) and just used Parmesan. I also went with the chicken stock (as opposed to the vegetable option) and did NOT drizzle oil on the top of each bowl (I just don't think this was necessary). I had read the comments below the recipe from people who had attempted it regarding their advice and additions and I opted to add some dried basil to the soup as well.

I was very excited about adding the Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread to the bowl. It reminded me of an Irish version of French Onion Soup. The bread had such a sweet flavor and after toasting it (quite darkly) I added it to the bottom of the bowl. I think it gave the soup a bit more "filling". Originally I was worried that we were going to have to have something else with the meal. I mean it's just soup. With no meat at that. But as we all went back for 2nds erin did without the bread because she was almost too full. I also added a few dashes of hot sauce to mine (I like everything with a kick) and I thought it gave a nice, very mild pop to the broth.

Soup may be a pour man's dinner, but my wallet was still full and so was the container with leftovers for tomorrow!