Saturday, January 25, 2014


Hearty cabbage soup for a chill winter's day.
Lurking in the fridge was half a cabbage, waiting for inspiration. When cold, drizzling rain sent me searching through my soup recipes for something warming, I came upon an entry for “dry” soup with cabbage, a specialty of Mallorca (Balearic Islands). Inspiration!

“Dry” soup? Because bread is added to soak up all the tasty broth. The word “soup” derives from “sop,” after all.  Sopa, in Spanish, comes from the same root--pieces of bread soaked in broth.

The simple version of this soup is completely vegan. The flavor comes from olive oil and vegetables—no stock is required. However, it can be embellished with scraps of fried ham or a poached egg on top for each person.

Ladle bread, vegetables and liquid into individual soup bowls.

Mallorcan “Dry” Soup with Cabbage
Sopas Mallorquinas

Other vegetables—cauliflower, chard, carrots, spinach, kale—can be used instead of or in addition to the cabbage.

Serves 6.
Chop the cabbage.

8 slices whole wheat bread (12 ounces)
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped leeks and/or onions
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup peeled and chopped tomato (or canned)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ cabbage, chopped (5 cups)
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water

Use whole wheat bread.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place the bread on a baking sheet and brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Toast in the oven, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 12 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a deep pan and sauté the chopped leeks, onion and green pepper until soft. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook a few minutes more, then add red pepper flakes, parsley and chopped cabbage.

Season with salt and pepper, add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Layer the bread, vegetables and broth.
Place a layer of toasted bread in a large cazuela. With a slotted spoon or skimmer, add a layer of the cooked vegetables. Cover with another layer of bread, then vegetables, until all have been used. Pour over all the liquid plus enough boiling water to just barely cover the bread and vegetables.

Cover the cazuela and let stand for 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Ladle the bread, vegetables and liquid into individual bowls. Serve hot or room temperature.

I enjoyed the soup, the second-time around, reheated in the oven with sliced cheese on top.

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