My husband is a hunter and I am not. He likes to tromp around in the cold wet outdoors looking for the elusive prey – I like a nice cozy kitchen with a fire in the background and glass of wine on the counter. He gets a thrill out of making his way through the most difficult terrain to end up somewhere untouched – I like a good sale at one of my favorite shops and lunch with my friends.
You would think that with our divergent interests, we would not be a good match. You would be wrong. Over the course of 25 years, we have found many ways to bring our interests together in a manner that satisfies both of us.
He wants me to come on a hunting trip with him? Great! Just as long as I get to stay in a nice lodge with cooking, shopping or photography opportunities. I want to attend a destination cooking event? No problem, he will either come with me and explore on his own or use the time to get some fishing in.
One of the benefits of hunting season for me is it gives me the opportunity to break out the slow cooker or dutch oven and create some of my most satisfying soups and stews. When he heads over to the eastern part of the state for his annual deer hunting trip with friends, one of my favorite soups to send with him is this White Bean and Cabbage Soup. It is easy to make, can be multiplied easily to accommodate any size of crowd and provides a warm, comforting and satisfying end of the day to a tired bunch of hungry hunters.
Pair this with my Dutch Oven Bread and some cold beer and you will have some very happy hunters.
White Bean & Cabbage Soup
- 4 slices, pepper bacon (no nitrates added), diced
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 head cabbage, cored, cut in half and thinly sliced
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 tbsps. Olive oil – divided
- 1 pint good quality artisanal beer (medium to dark)
- 4 – 6 cups homemade or organic, no-sodium chicken stock
- 2 – 16 oz. cans Cannelli Beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
In large heavy pot or dutch oven, cook bacon bits until brown and crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to bacon drippings and add sliced onions to pot. Cook slowly over medium heat to allow onions to sweat and soften. Do not brown the onions. After approximately 10 minutes, or after onions have begun to soften, add bell pepper strips and continue cooking gently for another 10 minutes.
Add cabbage and red pepper flakes to pot, another 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well with onions and pepper. Season with salt & pepper. Allow cabbage to begin to cook down, stirring often for about 10 minutes.
Add beer and stir well. Keep an eye on the pot to prevent the beer from foaming up. Simmer for 5 minutes and then add rinsed and drained beans, stirring to mix everything together.
Add chicken stock and allow to simmer for ½ hour. Check and adjust seasoning as necessary. Depending on your preferred soup consistency, you may want to add additional stock.
Ladle into soup bowls and top with bacon bits. Serve with warm crusty bread and cold beer.