Swedish Brown Bean Soup

Well, it appears that our rare, sunny streak in San Francisco has come and gone. Now back to the cool, foggy perfect-for-soup weather that we know and love. And, Spring cabbage abounds, so what better excuse to try a new heirloom bean and cabbage soup?

For this recipe (you may want to double this recipe if you want leftovers!) we used :
1/2 pound Swedish brown beans, soaked in cold water for 2 hours before cooking
6 slices high-quality bacon
3 cups sliced green cabbage
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh parsley

Put the beans and their soaking liquid in a soup pot and add enough cold water to cover by one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently until the beans are about halfway done, 45-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skilled over medium heat, saute the bacon until the fat is nearly rendered but the bacon has not begun to brown, about 8 minutes. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the fat, leaving the bacon in the pan.
 Add the cabbage and toss with the bacon fat to coat. Cook the cabbage over medium heat until wilted and beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir and toss for 1-2 minutes.
 Add the cabbage, bacon, molasses, brown sugar, and 1 tsp salt to the beans. Cook uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Add water if the soup is too thick.
 In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and parsley. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the lemon zest mixture.

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