Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vitamin Soup

The Baron returned from visiting his family carrying a wicked cold he’d picked up along the way. The worst part of his sickness was a bad cough. Partly post-nasal drip and partly chest congestion. When he coughs it sounds awful!

He’s not one to take medication so he’s been toughing it out. In sympathy, I fixed him some Vitamin Soup. This is a good one for sick people.

The nice thing about this soup is that you can start from scratch or you can take advantage of left-overs. Like all good soups, it’s quite adaptable.

I’ve long since abandoned measurements in general cooking. When you’ve been on the job a long time, the idea of measuring gets in the way. Thus, any measurements you find here, you’ll know I’m just making stuff up.

Vitamin Soup


Bacon, several slices
Cabbage, about 1/4 of a head, more or less.
Carrot, one
Potato, one medium
Water or chicken broth
Onion, one medium
Parsley, a good handful. Leaves only, chopped.
Red pepper flakes
Cream (optional)


Fry bacon slowly until crisp.
While bacon is cooking, shred cabbage and carrot into a saucepan.
Barely cover with water or broth and bring to a boil.
While waiting for the vegetables to heat, grate the potato separately into cold water (grated potatoes turn brown so easily. If you put a pinch of vitamin C powder into the water you’re using to grate the potato, this won’t happen).
Drain potato shreds into a colander and rinse before adding to the cabbage and carrot saucepan.
Once the vegetables are boiling, add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Reduce heat to simmer and cover saucepan.

When bacon is crisp, remove from pan and set aside.
Chop or shred an onion into the bacon fat. Cook slowly until the onion is translucent and beginning to turn golden. Don’t let it brown.
Scrape the cooked onion and rendered bacon fat into to the vegetables in saucepan.
Put cover back on and simmer the whole thing for another 20 minutes or so, until the potato shreds are very tender.

Add cream to taste and reduce the liquid a bit until it is the consistency you like.
Serve with freshly chopped parsley and crumbled bacon in each bowl.

This probably serves four people for a soup course, or two people for a meal.

As with most any soup, it’s even better the next day.


  • broccoli can be substituted for cabbage. In fact, most any cruciferous vegetable will do.
  • if you don’t believe in bacon, use shredded chicken. Leftover chicken is fine. But add some celery seed and/or sage for flavor.
  • Use butter to cook the onion if you’re not using bacon. Actually, ghee is even better since it doesn’t burn. Making your own ghee is easy and much less expensive than buying it.
  • left-over mashed potatoes make a good substitute for shredded potatoes. If you riced the potatoes after cooking, then they won’t have any glutinous lumps. If you haven’t had “riced” mashed potatoes, you don’t know what you’re missing!
  • The flavor of the slowly rendered onions is wonderful. But if you don’t have the time or inclination, to sauté them, just add dried onion to taste. It’ll do in a pinch.

Be well!