I’m starting to get a little burned out on cooking right now, just a little. If you head over to the Thanksgiving Tutorials section you’ll find lots of new goodies: gluten-free cornbread, stuffed acorn squash, cranberry orange relish (among others). By this time next week I’ll be in Thanksgiving overload–and it’s only October! It is exciting though, so I can’t complain too much, and thankfully folks managed to eat a huge chunk of the stuffings, squash, and relish last night at a potluck I hosted. As a magnet on my fridge says, “good cooks never lack friends.” So true!

In other news, it’s been cold and wet over here in southwestern Virginia–I know I’m farther north than I used to be, and at a higher elevation, but I wasn’t expecting it to be in the 40s so soon. The weather report says it’s going to warm up again next week, but I’m not sure if I can believe it. My friends who are thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail reached just north of here and have realized that the weather is downhill, as well as their hike, from now on. Thankfully they’re southbound, so they’re not hiking up into New England’s nasty end-of-autumn-beginning-of-winter-weather. Dorian, as you can see, is enjoying the local fauna.

For these cold and blustery autumn days, when I’m not cooking up a Thanksgiving dish or meal for Alternative Thanksgiving, I’ve begun to make a lot of soups. Soup is just so warming–anything that warms my nose back to a regular temperature while I’m eating it gets major points in my book. This Southwestern Cabbage Soup is my answer to a clean-out-the-fridge-and-pantry day: half a cabbage, a can of beans, potatoes, onions, a habanero pepper, chipotle chili powder. Corn would have been nice, but I didn’t have any. So my serving of cornbread on the side had to suffice. The soup couldn’t have been easier or more convenient to make and it definitely warmed my spirits while the rain poured.  As with any recipe like this, mix and match whatever ingredients you have on hand–the flavor builds with almost any ingredient!

Southwestern Cabbage Soup

1/2 cabbage, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 habanero pepper, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
5 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp chipotle chili powder

Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the onion and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the minced habanero pepper and chili powder and cook for 30 seconds more.

Add the vegetable broth, beans, and cabbage and bring the pot to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 35-40 minutes, serve with cornbread.