Red Flannel Soup

I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on Food Network and Matthew McConaughey told us that his mother was a terrible cook. It was funny, especially as I have always said this about my own mother. And it's the truth. I became interested in food and cooking from a very young age as I was certain I could at least do a better job than her.

But deep down, I had a tiny whisper of doubt.

So yesterday I asked my 16-year-old daughter, "Am I a good cook?" Being a diplomat, she refused to answer. This made me even more uneasy. "I AM a good cook!" I insisted, trying to drum up some of my former confidence.

Then I scanned my memory for recent meals I've made to reassure myself that they were delicious. This past week, I invented a new dish which I call Red Flannel Soup. It's just a combination of beet borscht with diced corned beef-- a play on red flannel hash, a New England staple. But when I made the soup, I accidentally left out the cabbage. I remembered the following day, chopped up the cabbage and cooked it in some butter and chicken stock, then added it in to the soup. No harm done, right?

Another example: when I baked those Italian Almond Cookies, I did an awesome job with the batter. I didn't leave out a single ingredient! But the day after I baked them, I was making turkey muffins and slid the tin into the oven only to discover a sheet full of cookies from the day before. Yes, I had left a whole sheet of cookies in the oven all night long. I was quite surprised to find them there.

So, can I really call myself a "good" cook when there is so much evidence to the contrary?

Bottom line: those cookies were a tad bit hard, but still yummy dunked in coffee. And the soup tasted delicious with and without the cabbage. I don't know. You can be the judge here.

2 TB coconut or red palm oil (or butter)
2 sweet onions, chopped
3 rainbow carrots (or regular carrots) sliced
3 stalks of celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 beets, chopped
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 quart chicken stock (or more)
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
2 TB Worchestershire sauce
1 pound cooked corned beef, diced

Sour cream
Chopped fresh dill (optional)

In a large sauce pan or stock pot, saute onions in oil. Add the rest of the veggies in the order listed, stirring and cooking for a minute between additions. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer soup for about 45 minutes or until all veggies are soft. Add stock or water along the way if the soup looks too thick. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh chopped dill on top. Makes plenty! Enjoy!