Put all the vegetables except the cabbage into the Dutch oven.
Add 8 cups water, the 10 thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves. Add 1 tsp. salt and a generous grind of pepper.
Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 15 minutes.
While the veggies are cooking, prepare the cabbage. Trim any damaged leaves and discard. Trim any loose leaves from the cabbage, rinse and stack them. Cut the leaves in thin strips.
Cut the rest of the cabbage into 6 wedges and remove the core from each wedge.
Reduce the heat so the water is boiling gently. Add the cabbage leaves and wedges and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. The cabbage will be really soft and delicious at this point but if you want it less cooked, reduce the cooking time (you’ll lose flavor if you cook it less, though).
While the soup is cooking, rinse and pat dry the parsley. Pluck 1 cup leaves.
Peel 2 cloves garlic
Drain and rinse the beans.
Set the table, catch up on Twitter – the soup needs little supervision for the first 15 minutes of this second stage of cooking.
When you return to the kitchen pour yourself a glass of wine and finish the soup.
Add the beans to the soup and taste it for seasoning.
Mince the parsley and the garlic.
Test the veggies. If they’re tender, stir in the parsley and garlic mixture. Adjust the seasoning again.
Slice the baguette, and take it with the wine to the table.
Serve the soup making sure to put 1 cabbage wedge in the bowl of the lighter eaters, 2 in the bowls of the heavier eaters.