"Winter Minestrone with Turnips, Potatoes, and Cabbage" from "The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution" by Alice Waters.
This soup recipe is interesting because it is entirely vegetarian, and she uses just water and no chicken stock or vegetable stock as its base. The vegetables are only lightly cooked in the water, so that they still have structure. It makes a nice light broth. We're somewhat undecided about this recipe. On the one hand, I like how light and refreshing the broth is. On the other hand, I yearn for a broth with more body and umami, such as one that would result if this soup was made with chicken stock as a base.
We put napa cabbage in this; this recipe is also interesting because Alice Waters suggests blanching the cabbage separately in salted water first. Typically when I've made soups with napa cabbage in the past (such as this napa cabbage and daikon radish soup or this hot pot which we add napa cabbage to) or at home with my mother, we've always cooked the raw napa cabbage in the broth, since napa cabbage imparts a surprising amount of nice flavor into the broth. I missed this flavor since soup with napa cabbage is one of my favorites, however blanching the cabbage separately resulted in a soup where the flavors of the other vegetables more clearly stood out in the broth. William said that if he made this again he would like more cabbage, and that he'd like it to be mostly cabbage with a smaller amount of the other vegetables.
Also, I think that the broth to vegetable ratio isn't high enough. For this type of soup, I like to clutch the bowl with both hands and take large gulps of the broth. The amount of water that Alice Waters suggests to add in this soup is probably smaller then I'd like since there isn't enough flavor to dilute the broth more; I think adding chicken or vegetable stock would remedy this.
William and I both made this together. He picked out the recipe since I wanted something with cabbage in it; Alice Water's cookbook is his favorite. It took us about 2 hours to make this. We cooked the beans while cutting up the vegetables, and he cooked everything while I did most of the vegetable cutting. I cut the vegetables into a small dice, smaller then I would usually do. So for instance, I cut the celery into a few lengthwise strips before slicing them so they would be little cubes, the leeks into a few lengthwise strips, and cut most of the other vegetables into a similar size. I cut the napa cabbage leaves lengthwise into a few slices about an inch wide before slicing it into small bite sized pieces about a half an inch wide.
On the plus side, this soup tasted a lot more flavorful on the second day. The beans got softer and creamy, and the broth became even more flavorful, and the flavors of the vegetables melded, and the vegetables themselves became slightly softer but still intact.
Dried cannellini beans after they have been soaked overnight
I froze half of the soup. We ended up bringing a turkey leg and wing home from a dinner at William's parents, so I simmered the turkey leg (with the bones and skin) with the remaining soup for an hour and a half, and then removed the meat from the bone and added it back in. I added some water to dilute the soup, and salt to taste. Tomorrow, when the fat solidifies, I will also degrease this soup. This greatly increased the umami and body of the soup, though the soup doesn't have the pure vegetable flavor that it did before. I think William likes this version better. Next time, I would simmer the turkey leg in just plain water first, and then add the vegetable soup in the last 15 minutes of cooking, since the long cooking made the carrots in the soup too soft.