Slippery Jack-Cabbage Soup, For An Old Russian Man
Serves four as a light vegetarian entree, to be accompanied by some crusty bread or a little salad for a meal
5cupswater1 cup great northern or cannellini beanssoaked overnight in water (choosing an heirloom variety
¼cupeach carrot onion and celerychopped and pureed for a couple minutes in a food processor until very fine and uniform
⅓cupcracked wheatyou could also substitute barley, polenta or traditional Russian Kasha-buckwheat groats
4cupsfresh slippery jack mushroomscaps peeled, sliced in half, and then sliced into ½ inch slices, stems sliced into ½ inch coins
4cupssavoy or green cabbagediced ½ inch
Salt and pepper
1fresh or dried bay leaf
¼cupsour creamvegans omit this, maybe garnish with a glug or two of nice olive oil instead
Black pepper and fresh green onionsto garnish
Lard, flavorless cooking oil, or olive oil as needed for sweating the mushrooms
Begin by cooking the slippery jacks in a couple tablespoons of flavorless oil such as grapeseed or canola in a small pasta or stock pot. A 4 qt pot will have plenty of room.
Cook the slippery jacks in the oil until they give up their water and it evaporates and begins to color on the bottom of the pan. When the water has evaporated, season the mushrooms with ¼ teaspoon or so of salt.
Cook the mushrooms for a moment more and then add the pureed carrot, onion and celery and cook until the vegetable puree has released it's water and the pan is nearly dry. Next add the cabbage, 5 cups of water, the bay leaf, beans and the cracked wheat to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for an hour or so at a gentle simmer, or until the cracked wheat and beans are cooked and soft. Season the soup to taste with salt and reserve.
While the soup is simmering, put the vodka in a small sauce pan and Ignite with a lighter or match, then turn the heat off. When the flames die out the alcohol has evaporated and the vodka is ready to add to your sour cream, you should be left with a tablespoon or so. Mix the remaining vodka into the sour cream and season with a pinch of salt, say an ⅛ tsp. Set the vodka sour cream aside until ready to plate. Double check the seasoning of the soup again, and adjust as needed.
When you wish to serve the soup, ladle equal portions of the soup into small bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream, sliced green onions, fresh grinds of black pepper and serve.