Cabbage and Parmesan Soup with Barley

The Full Belly Recipe page is a great place to get ideas on how to use the contents of your CSA box. You can search the recipes by the vegetable that you want to cook.  For example, if you are thinking about using the chard from your box, you can go to the section on greens and think about “Garlicky Smashed Potatoes and Greens” (a good use of your potatoes as well), or “Pasta with Chard and Feta Cheese” (also uses your fresh onions), or “Frittata with Swiss Chard.”  

We call the potatoes that we are harvesting, “NEW” potatoes because we dig them up before the skin has cured and set.  That’s why the potato skin can look a little bit scuffed, but it is also why they are so deliciously creamy.  These potatoes, since they aren’t cured, should be refrigerated, and of course, kept away from light.  The potatoes are great roasted with other root vegetables, or even by themselves garnished with some dill, rosemary or parsley.

Cabbage and Parmesan Soup with Barley

This recipe is from Martha Rose Schulman, on the New York Times web site (with small adjustments made here for the CSA box).  I notice that she uses Parmesan Cheese rinds in her soup — a trick that I once learned from a chef so that I now save the rinds from any of my hard cheese — it adds deeper flavor to the soup.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (your fresh onion will work fine)

7 to 8 cups shredded cabbage

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

About 6 ounces of New Potatoes

6 cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock

2 large Parmesan Rinds

1 cup cooked barley

Chopped fresh dill, chives or parsley for garnish

Freshly grated Parmesan for garnish


Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage, garlic and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cook, stirring often, until the cabbage begins to soften.  Add the potato, the water or stock, the Parmesan rinds and the salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Remove and discard the rinds.

Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, coarsely purée the soup.  Return to the pot and stir in the barley, or place a spoonful of barley in each bowl.  Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings and heat through.  Serve, garnishing each bowl with a sprinkling of dill, chives or parsley, and a spoonful of grated Parmesan.

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