A friend we were staying with in Southern France treated us to a wonderful family style, road side restaurant near his home. When I say roadside, I don't mean it was anywhere equivalent to a roadside restaurant in the US. While situated on a dark road somewhere in the rustic French countryside with a large statue of a cow on the roof, this was a place of incredible, high end country style food.
This is the kind of place you find only if someone knows where it is or you have got lost on that road.
Inside it was warm, cozy and loud. Large, heavy wooden tables full of food and families enjoying the food and company. The large stone fireplace that was behind the counter, big enough for a person could walk into, not only warmed the room but also served as the grill that the meat was cooked on. Their specialties were goose and steaks cooked (very rare! ) in that fire. With the meal came a huge crock of cabbage soup. Even Violet, who can be very particular about food and wasn't even feeling that well that day loved that soup and requested I figure out how to make it. This is a wonderful, nourishing, comforting and EASY soup to make. I make it on cold, rainy days and eating it instantly takes us back to that wonderful. stormy night in France. I always make it in my crockpot but you could easily make it on the stove and just let it simmer an hour or so to blend the flavors.
8 cups of chicken broth ( I prefer using turkey broth when I have it. I always make my own broth whenever I roast a chicken or turkey so my pantry inventory changes a bit. My guess is the restaurant uses goose. So you can really make do with what you have and decide what you like best. )
This serves 4
1 cup white wine
4 large potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup of finely chopped leeks
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 head of chopped green cabbage
salt and white pepper to taste
small fresh rosemary sprig
Toss everything but the cabbage in a crockpot and cook on low for at least 8 hours. Throw in cabbage and cook on high about 20 minutes. This will cook your cabbage enough to soften but still leave it a little crisper. You can cook it longer if you prefer it softer.
This is really an accommodating dish. We usually prefer it simple like this because it seems really close to the one we had in France but I have certainly played with it and it always comes out delicious. Onions when I didn't have leeks, carrots just because, different herbs.......Make it your own.
Serve it with fresh, crusty bread, cheese, and of course, a bottle of wine.