Mexican-Style Cabbage Soup with Pork and Beans
Based on the classic Portuguese soup Caldo Verde, I have given this a Mexican twist with avocado, coriander and lime juice.
Use any kind of dark green cabbage, or kale, plus top-notch pork. The stock needs to be top-quality – either home-made or from a pouch. Don't even consider a stock cube.
For the beans, use dried beans such as borlotti beans or butter beans. Soak them for 8 hours, then cover with fresh water and cook for about 45 minutes or until just tender.
rapeseed oil 5 tbsp
lean boneless pork (preferably organic) 500g, cut into bite-sized chunks
onions 2, halved and thinly sliced into crescents
cumin seeds 1 tsp, crushed
dried oregano ½ tsp
sea salt to taste
pork or chicken stock (top-quality) 1 litre
garlic cloves 2 large, thinly sliced lengthways
fleshy green chillies 1–3, deseeded and finely chopped
plum tomatoes 3, peeled and chopped
cooked borlotti beans or butter beans 350g (175g dried), drained
freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp
dark green cabbage or kale 150g (without stalks), thinly sliced into shreds
fresh coriander leaves picked and sliced to make 5 tbsp
lime juice freshly squeezed 1-2 tbsp
thinly sliced red onion
diced avocado, tossed in a little lime juice
1) Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and fry until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2) While the pork is frying, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a casserole or heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, cumin, oregano and sea salt to taste. Stir well, then cover and cook gently for 30-35 minutes until the onion is very soft. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, adding a splash of stock if the onions get too dry.
3) Stir in the garlic, chillies and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
4) Next, add the meat, beans, stock, pepper and more sea salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, with the lid slightly askew, for 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
5) Prepare the garnishes while the meat and beans are simmering.
6) Raise the heat to a brisk simmer and stir in the cabbage. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes more, until tender but still a nice bright green.
7) Stir in the coriander and lime juice. Serve right away with the garnishes
Recipe © Christine McFadden from Cool Green Leaves and Red Hot Peppers published by Frances Lincoln