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cabbage soup
Ham and Cabbage Soup

oatmeal biscuits
Oatmeal Biscuits

Menu Plan for the week of Jan. 4, 2013:  Sunday's Recipes

Ham  and Cabbage Soup
Oatmeal Biscuits

Cooking time:  60 minutes for menu      Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

     If you have any leftover yogurt, you can substitute that for some or all of the milk in the biscuits. 
I use 'ham base' to flavor this soup, which you can find in some US supermarkets'.  I use it throughout the year in place of chicken stock for ham or bacon based dishes.  I list chicken stock in the recipe because it's more readily available.

Ham and Cabbage Soup                                          Preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes
     Many vegetable soups use regular, white cabbage.  I decided to make one featuring Savoy or green cabbage.  Using a slice of ham from the deli helps this go together quickly for a warming, winter meal.  Stirring in a bit of cornstarch at the end gives the broth a more luscious 'mouth feel'.  This is enough for 4 servings.  

3 medium potatoes
4 medium carrots
3 ribs celery
1 large onion 
2/3 head Savoy cabbage, 4  - 5 cups
10oz (300gr) baked or pink ham
1 tbs olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
6 - 8 cups chicken stock  or water plus ham base
2 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolve in 1/4 cup water

Roughly chop onion.  Peel carrots; then slice by cutting in half the long way (in 2 or mores sections) then into half or quarter circles.  Peel and slice potatoes to a similar size.  Slice celery, cutting the wide end in half lengthwise.  Cut ham into small pieces.  Remove dark green outer leaves from cabbage. Cut off a thick slice, avoiding the core. Lay flat, cut into 3 or 4 wedges, then thickly slice the wedges. 
Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot. Add onion and sauté until it starts to get tender, about 5 minutes. Add celery and sauté 5 minutes longer. Add ham and sauté briefly. Add carrots, potatoes, cabbage, herbs and stock. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, 30 - 40 minutes.
To finish: Remove bay leaves.  Dissolve cornstarch in water. Uncover soup and increase heat.  When simmering hard, add cornstarch, stirring until it clears. Serve.

Oatmeal Biscuits                                                          Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
     if you don't have oatmeal you can substitute 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts or 1/3 cup more flour.  Like most biscuits, these are best eaten warm from the oven, slathered with butter.  Remember: oatmeal is good for you!

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbs butter (chilled is best)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice and enough milk to equal 1/2 cup;   let stand 5 - 10 minutes; you are making sour milk.  You should / may not use all of it; depending on whether you are using the oatmeal, flour or nuts and the humidity.

Combine lemon juice and milk and set aside to sour. 
Put all dry ingredients into bowl.  Add butter and cut in with pastry cutter, fork or 2 knives.  The idea is to get the butter and flour mixed so that it looks like tiny pebbles or small peas.  Add half the milk and stir lightly and briefly until just sort of combined.  Add the a bit more milk until you get it to sort of stay together.  (The way to make light biscuits is a minimum of handling - trust me, it works.) 
Scoop dough out onto a heavily floured surface - any clean counter top or table will work.  Knead lightly 5 - 7 times - that is: press it together lightly, turn it over and do it again, folding it over on itself as you turn it.  It's not going to look well mixed or smooth like bread dough. 
Rub flour on a rolling pin and lightly roll dough out to 3/4 inch (1.25 cm) thickness.  Try to get it square shaped.  Instead of the usual circles cut the dough into 2 - 2.5 inch (5 - 6cm) squares.  This makes all of the biscuits from one rolling. Less handling = lighter biscuits. 
Put biscuits on a baking sheet and bake for 10 - 12 minutes in 450F (220C) oven or until lightly browned.  Remove and serve immediately. 

Note:  For those not familiar with baking powder biscuits - they are light and wonderful eaten with melted butter while still hot from the oven.  They resemble hockey pucks the next day so don't bother to save the leftovers... Although you could crumble them and serve them with sausage gravy for breakfast....

Cooking Schedule: 60 minutes for menu
Assemble all ingredients and utensils
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
medium soup pot with lid, baking sheet
Chop onions, sauté
Peel carrots, slice
Slice celery, add to onions
Trim, slice cabbage
Cut ham, add to onions/celery
Peel, cut potatoes
Add carrots, potatoes, cabbage, stock, herbs, to pot
Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, simmer
      Take a 20 minute break - or longer

Turn oven on 450F (220C)
Add lemon to milk, set aside
Mix dry ingredients for biscuits
Cut in butter
Add milk, mix
Knead lightly, roll out, cut
Place biscuits on baking sheet, bake
Dissolve cornstarch in water
Uncover soup, remove bay leaves, increase heat
Stir in cornstarch mixture
     Wait for biscuits
Serve soup and biscuits

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