This is a six year favorite of mine, which I've posted before. It was made for me by a friend when Helena was just a few days old. Admittedly, I have some nostalgic and warm feelings about this soup that have nothing to do with the soup itself, but others who've tried it all agree it's pretty great. I blogged about it once before, but I believe it deserves a reintroduction. If you're lucky enough to still have some fresh tomatoes from the garden (I'm not, sniff, sniff!), here's a great use for them.
Tomato Cabbage Soup
1) Finely dice 1 carrot, 1 leek, well-washed and 1/2 bunch celery, including leaves. Saute in a soup pot with 1 Tb oil and 1/2 Tb whole fennel seed. When golden brown, add 8 c. water and 1 Tb pesto, if you have it, otherwise add 1tsp dried basil. Cover and simmer 1 hour.
2) Coarsely shop 5 c. fresh tomatoes. You need not skin them. (Or alternatively, add 1 qt. canned tomatoes, breaking up the tomatoes somewhat in the soup pot). Add to soup pot with 1/4 c. canned tomato paste. Cut up 1/4 small cabbage into 1" squares and add to simmering soup. Cook another 30 min. When cabbage and tomatoes seem done, add 1/3 c. white rice and cook 10 min more. The rice really needs to go in much earlier to be done on time.
3) Season soup with 2 Tb brown sugar, 2 tsp salt and 1 Tb lemon juice. Taste and correct seasonings if necessary. Garnish each serving with sour cream.
Of course, serve it with some good, crusty bread, maybe a salad. I have, on occasion, when hearty fare was called for, browned up some Italian sausage and tossed it in with good results. Whatever you do though, try this soup. I don't think you'll be disappointed.