It began with the best of plans: To cook some corned beef and ease my cravings for this most familiar of comfort foods.
Inevitably, I had leftovers.
The first day I made a wonderful Corned Beef Hash, because that’s my go-to leftovers meal and I always believe it tastes even better than the original. Of course it does. But while I spent pleasurable hours over the following week consuming a 1kg cut of corned beef – and you will get a Turkish-inspired meal idea for it in the next few days – I was faced with the challenge of getting through a large under-utilised wedge of cabbage.
Now, cabbage soup is a little dreary even for frugal food, so I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Irish for this splendid combination. Knowing that bacon makes everything taste better is one thing but this soup doubles handily as a splendid hangover cure which is just a bonus.
It has everything you want for a winter warmer – it is easy to make and easy on your budget, it fills you up without weighing you down and it has a surprisingly delicate flavour without the smokiness of bacon overwhelming your senses.
Get on it.
Makes 1.5 litres
- 2 tbsp oil
- 4 rashers bacon, rinds removed and chopped into 1cm strips
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 2 small carrots, diced
- 3 large potatoes (about 700g), peeled and cut into large cubes
- 4 cups (1 litre) vegetable or chicken stock
- 4 cups finely shredded cabbage (about 300g)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a 3L saucepan or soup pot and cook the bacon over medium heat until it has browned. Drain the bacon on paper towels but keep as much of the rendered bacon fat in the pan as you can. Add the butter.
Sauté the onions, garlic and carrots in the butter and bacon oil for 5 minutes until the onion softens and changes colour. Add the potatoes and toss them well to coat in the oil.
Add the stock and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the vegetables until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Use a stick blender to purée the soup until it is smooth and creamy.
Return the soup to the stove and add the cabbage and cooked bacon. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until the cabbage is just cooked through and wilted. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread.
$8.50 for four large serves