For the last couple of years, I've learned to appreciate the simplicity of monastery cooking. I guess you could say that I owe it all to a Brother Vincent, a Benedictine monk from upper state New York.
Before I bought his book, Sacred Feasts, I was unaware that, since the beginnings of monastic life, monks were basically vegetarian. Brother Vincent has written several cookbooks and books on prayer, and I like both his cooking and writing styles. One day, I hope to make it up to his monastery to visit.
Recently, I read an article about Brother Vincent and his life at Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery. When asked what was his favorite dish to prepare during the season of Lent, he replied, Caldo Verde, which is a Portuguese green soup made mostly with cabbage, potatoes and garlic.
It sounded like a great soup to make for St. Patrick's Day. What could be more Irish than potatoes and cabbage? In my area, cabbage is at rock bottom prices, so it will be easy to whip up a batch of this tasty soup. I hope you enjoy it.
10 cups low sodium vegetable broth
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 leeks, including green parts, thinly sliced
1 small green cabbage, coarsely chopped
5 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, bring water to boil and add a pinch of salt. Drop heat to medium low and add leaks, cabbage and potatoes. Cover pot and continue boiling for 12-15 minutes.
Add garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cover pot and allow soup to simmer over medium low heart for 30 minutes.
Top with parmesan cheese if you wish, and serve with a crusty bread.