This recipe makes enough for a crowd. It freezes extremely well, however, and is a treat to pull out of the freezer and heat up after a long day's work. It is particularly satisfying to devour on a snowy or rainy night.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
- 1 cup dried cannellini other other small white beans
- 6 large beets (about 2 lbs.)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter
- 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 head green, Savoy, or Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced or shredded
- 2 tsp. caraway seeds
- 8 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
- Lemon juice to taste
- Plain yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)
- Fresh chopped dill for garnish (optional)
- Put the beans in a large pot and add cold water to cover generously. Bring to a boil, cover, turn off heat, and let sit 1 hour. Drain and return the beans to the pot. Cover again with cold water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to keep a simmer and cook until beans are tender to the bite, about 20 minutes. Drain the beans and set them aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap the beets in a large sheet of foil, place on a baking sheet, and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Let the beets sit until cool enough to handle. Peel them (their skins should slip off easily after being roasted) and grate them on the large-hole side of a box grater. Set aside. (Note: I like the ease of peeling roasted beets, but feel free to peel and grate raw beets - they will cook quickly enough in the soup.)
- In a large pot over medium-high heat add oil, onions, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, if using, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cabbage, stir to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the caraway seeds and beets. Stir to combine and add the broth or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer, add beans, and cook until vegetables are tender and flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Serve hot, with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a sprinkle of dill, if you like.
Makes 16 generous servings.