A week or two ago, the New York Times had an article about some cabbage dishes that break the stinky stereotype. Meg has been saying for months that she wants to cook more soups, so the cabbage soup recipe seemed like the perfect choice
Bess Feigenbaum’s Cabbage Soup
Adapted from The National, Manhattan
Time: 3 hours
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup minced or grated onion
1 cup peeled thinly sliced carrots
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes in purée
1 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 pounds cabbage (tough outer leaves, core and ribs removed), sliced into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.
1/2 cup golden raisins
Fresh ground (preferably medium grind) black pepper
Sour cream, optional.
1. In a 6-quart pot over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and add garlic. Cover and cook until garlic is tender but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add onion, and sauté until translucent. Add 3 cups water, carrots, tomatoes and purée, tomato paste, ketchup, brown sugar and bay leaf. Simmer at a lively bubble for 10 minutes, then crush whole tomatoes with potato masher or fork. Continue to simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
2. Using an immersion blender, or working in batches with a stand blender, process mixture until it is coarse, not puréed. Return sauce to pot and add lemon juice, cabbage ribbons and 3 cups water. Place over medium-high heat and cook at a lively simmer until cabbage is cooked to taste, from al dente to meltingly soft, 1 to 2 hours. Add 3 to 6 cups water, to thin to desired consistency. Ten minutes before serving, stir in raisins and a few twists of black pepper. If desired, garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream.
Yield: 8 servings.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve never cooked with cabbage where it takes center stage, as in this soup. Embarking on this new frontier, Meg and I decided to closely adhere to the recipe. I was excited to use this opportunity to test my eye-balling skills, figuring out how to accurately judge whole ingredients’ measurements. For example, I was a little surprised to see that only about one and a quarter small onion was needed to make a cup of diced onion.
The recipe was, all in all, fairly easy. Basically, just cut things and put them in pot and let it all cook for a while.
So…. how did it taste? Meg and I both agreed that it was WAY too sweet. Edibile, but too sweet. (Which maybe shouldn’t be a surprise given that the article the recipe comes from is Cabbage’s Sweet Side.) The recipe calls for brown sugar, ketchup, raisins, and a full cup of tomato paste–all adding to the high level of sweetness.
The soup might work better as a small part of a larger dinner, but when taking center stage, Meg and I agreed that the sweet needs to be take down a notch or two. We we next try, we are going to definitely cut the brown sugar and the ketchup. Meg also had the idea of adding in some India or Middle Easter spices. (I’m so proud of her improvisational thinking!!!) I think that with Meg’s spices this dish might be great served over rice–but only more cooking will tell!