I’ve only seen two episodes of Top Chef Masters on Bravo but I’m already hooked. It’s obvious that the participants are real chefs because they all get along and act professionally under pressure. Their demeanors separate them from the whiney amateurs of Top Chef. During the first episode, chef Michael Schlow sweated his way through the Quickfire Challenge in an airy stainless steel-filled handsome kitchen, but effortlessly turned out a soup of cabbage with white beans in a dorm room. I made note that the next time it rains and I want to eat some soup, I would replicate his dish.
Well, it’s been raining in New York City almost non-stop for the last two weeks. I finally got some alone time to concentrate in the kitchen and cook without anyone bothering me. There weren’t any ham hocks in my Harlem supermarket–I know, right? That’s like running out of ground pork in a Filipino store–so I ended up using the last of the sausages from La Tienda. The pimiento flavor gave the soup a hint of red-orange and made an otherwise white and pale bowl of soup colorful.
1 cabbage, cut in half then sliced into strips
1 cup of white beans, soaked in water for at least an hour
1 pimento sausage, sliced
1 carrot, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
oil, salt, pepper
1. Heat some oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage slices and sauté until brown around edges, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage; sauté 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add some more oil to same pot. Saué garlic until golden brown and onions until translucent. Add carrots and celery and sauté until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Return the sausage and cabbage mixture. Add herbs, beans and broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, covered, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.