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Cabbage, Leek, and Bacon Soup with Beet Salad

Active Time: 45 minutes / Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hr / Total Time: 1 hr 15 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Chef’s Tip: To clean leeks, trim off the root end and cut in half lengthwise. Run under cold water while fanning out the layers of the leek to get the sand that can get caught in between the layers. Alternatively, cut the leek according to recipe instructions and then place the pieces in a large bowl of water. Let sit 10 minutes, swishing once with your hand. The dirt will settle to the bottom while the leek float. Gently scoop pieces from the surface of the water onto a clean kitchen towel, blot dry, and proceed with the recipe.

Cabbage%2c Leek & Bacon Soup.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beets (look for beets about the size of golf balls, if available), any color, scrubbed well
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped (freeze any leftover bacon for use later in the month)
  • 1-2 teaspoons ghee, if needed
  • 2 medium to large leeks*, white and light green parts only, sliced into ½” thick half-moons
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • ½ small cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 small orange, peeled, separated into segments
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cider
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place beets in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes to an hour. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  2. While the beets cook, prep the ingredients for the soup. Add bacon to a large saucepan or Dutch oven and heat to medium-low. Cook until bacon is crisp and has rendered its fat, about 4-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Add ghee to bacon fat to make 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan, if necessary (or drain excess bacon fat).
  3. Add leeks and ¼ teaspoon salt to fat in pan and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until leeks begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add cabbage, thyme, and ¼ teaspoon salt to pan. Cook, stirring often, until cabbage begins to wilt, about 4-5 minutes. Add water and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.
  4. While the soup simmers, peel and quarter the beets and place in a medium bowl. Squeeze half of the orange segments over the beets, and cut remaining segments into pieces. Toss beets with ¼ teaspoon salt, red onion, and orange segments. Add oil and gently combine.
  5. Remove soup from heat, stir in vinegar, and taste for seasoning. Add remaining ¼ teaspoon salt to taste, ground black pepper, and bacon pieces and stir.
  6. Serve 2 cups of soup and ¼ of the beet salad per person for dinner. Package remaining soup and salad in airtight containers for lunch tomorrow. Refrigerate.

*Butternut squash does not have to be peeled! Simply scrub it well and proceed with the recipe. If you would prefer it peeled, a Y-shaped peeler makes the job faster. For tonight’s dinner, use the solid top of the squash and grate it on a box-grater or with the grating attachment of a food processor. Save the bulbous end for dinner later in the week.