White Bean and Cabbage Soup

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      White Bean and Cabbage Soup
      1/2 lb Savoy cabbage, cut into strips
      1/2 lb Swiss Chard with the white stalk removed
      2 potatoes cut into cubes
      2 celery stalks, sliced thin
      1 red onion diced
      2 carrots, sliced thin
      1 tbs parsley
      1/3 cup olive oil
      4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded, drained, and chopped
      2 tbs tomato paste
      1 tsp thyme
      4 1/4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
      1/3 cup Pancetta cubed, and lightly fried (optional)
      16-oz can white beans
      8 slices Ciabatta or country-style bread
      extra virgin olive oil and sea salt to serve
      Soak the cabbage, Cavolo Nero and potatoes in a large bowl of cold water.
      Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over a medium heat and once the oil is warm, add the first seven ingredients to the pan and saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and check the ingredients aren’t sticking or burning.

      Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato paste, stir, then cook for 5 minutes more.
      Add the vegetable or chicken stock to the stockpot, season with a little salt and pepper and thyme. Simmer for 15 minutes.
      Drain the cabbage and potatoes and add to the stockpot, (also add the Pancetta if using). Cook over a medium heat for approx 45 minutes, adding more stock if needed.

      The soup should be rather thick. Add the beans 5 minutes before the soup is ready.
      To serve: place a slice of bread layer into a hot soup bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.
      This soup is even better if kept overnight and reheated the following day.

      Serves 4-6
      meatballs smilie

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