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I have a unique outlook on leftovers – they shouldn’t be viewed as a repeat meal, but more like another ingredient in the fridge that can become part of a great dish. Just the other night I went to a friend’s house for dinner and she was cooking a large piece of ham. It was wonderful, but there was far too much leftover, so she was kind enough to send me home with a nicely packaged doggy bag. It did not take me long to figure out what I was going to do with the ham – a traditional homemade soup. Before calling it a night, I removed some of my homemade chicken stock from the freezer, just to make sure it would be thawed in time. The next day I woke up bright and early to attend the local farmers market where I got fresh pickings of all the essentials, everything that would make for a delicious soup.
I’ll share with you my recipe, but it’s really anything but that. It was easy to select the ingredients, as it just so happened that I was in one of those moods where anything that looked good and caught my eye was going to be part of the final soup. Also, you can make use of whatever stock you have available, whether it be vegetable or even ham. Finally, make sure you do all your chopping ahead of time. Like most soups, this recipe requires that everything be thrown in the pot at practically the same time.
Cabbage turns out to be a perfect vegetable for soups because, while quite though when raw, it becomes soft and takes on a great texture when slowly cooked in a liquid like chicken stock. Here I used leftover ham, but you could just as well use leftover chicken or beef. If you do decide to use ham for this soup and unless you decide to prepare your own ham, you’ll have to be somewhat careful with the ham you end up buying. Most options available in grocery stores will be packed with preservatives and sugar so the only real option is to find a local butcher that makes one with good ingredients only. Good butchers will know what’s in their ham and you shouldn’t be shy to ask them about it.
I hope you’ll enjoy this heartwarming soup just as much as I did.
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