Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage and Bread Stew
A hearty variation on sweet-and-sour cabbage soup, a great cold-weather classic.
2 tablespoons light olive oil oil
2 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced
3 to 4 cloves garlic
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 large or 3 medium potatoes, diced
4 cups coarsely shredded green cabbage
1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
1 (14 to 16-ounce) can diced or stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
5 cups water
3 to 4 cups cubed (about 1 inch) Italian or sourdough bread
3 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
3 tablespoons honey or rice syrup, or to taste
1/2 cup dark or golden raisins (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, wine, paprika, and cumin, and water. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Spread the bread cubes in a single layer and bake until golden and crisp, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand until needed.
- When the stew is done, stir in the lemon juice and honey or rice syrup. There should be a subtle sweet-sour flavor. If you'd like it to be more pronounced, add more lemon juice and/or honey or rice syrup to your liking. Stir in the raisins if desired and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer over very low heat for another 10 minutes. If time allows, let the stew stand off the heat for an hour or two before serving, then heat through as needed.
- When ready to serve the stew, divide the bread cubes among the serving bowls and ladle the stew over them. The bread will absorb much of the liquid and add a tasty, textural element to the stew.
Makes 6 servings.