Seupa à la Vapelenentse


First published in 2019
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Italian 'soups' (zuppa) are often more like stews or purées, rather than the smooth liquids we tend to think of. This recipe is a prime example, with solid layers of stale bread, cheese and cabbage simmered in beef stock. The stock needs to be of very high quality to make this dish really sing, so make your own if you have time. It's also a fantastic recipe when you need to use up stale bread (which was no doubt how it came about in the first place), and if you're struggling to find Fontina cheese then other alpine cheeses work well in its place.




  • 500ml of beef stock, ideally homemade or very high quality
  • 3 savoy cabbage leaves, sliced into 2cm strips
  • 4 slices of dark rye bread, or wholemeal bread (stale is fine), torn into large chunks
  • 150g of fontina cheese, sliced or grated
  • 1 pinch of ground cinnamon
Pour the beef stock into a pan and heat until simmering. Add the sliced cabbage and cook for 5 minutes, then drain (reserving the stock)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Arrange a layer of the bread in the base of an ovenproof dish, followed by a layer of cheese and then a layer of cabbage. Repeat these layers until everything is used up, but make sure the final layer is cheese to get a bubbling molten crust. Finish with a pinch of cinnamon
Pour the warm stock into the dish and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes
Check the dish and add a little more stock if it's dry. The soup is ready when the cheese has formed a golden and bubbling crust
First published in 2019
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