The lowly cabbage is often overlooked in favor of other prettier vegetables however even out of season it remains a versatile and inexpensive meal option. Properly prepared cabbage is tender, flavorful and nutritionally dense. A source of vitamin C, folic acid and the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene; raw, cooked, and fermented cabbage products provide valuable nutrients your body can use.
My version of cabbage soup is similar to the one posted above however mine will be quicker to prepare. It can also be adapted for a vegan or vegetarian to include in their diet. Serving cabbage with either caraway or fennel helps reduce the flatulence often associated with cabbage consumption as it makes the vegetable easier to digest. My soup does not include either ingredient however please feel free to include these as you see fit.
- 1 small head green cabbage
- 1/4 Cup (2 ounces) coconut oil
- Stock or broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
Melt your oil over medium heat in a large heavy frying pan or stock pot. Some people prefer soup to have minimal liquid while others prefer the liquid portion to trickle down and fill the empty spots in the stomach which is why I did not specify how much stock or broth to add. If you prefer the cabbage to take center stage make this in a frying pan. If a thinner soup is your goal a pot will work better.
Dice your cabbage while your oil is melting. I generally cleave my cabbage into two and quarter it from there. When your oil has melted it should cover the bottom of your pan without hissing or spitting. Add your cabbage to the hot oil, cabbage shrinks a bit when cooking so you can add more than you might think you would be able to. If your cabbage is large or your pan small browning your cabbage may be done in batches.
For the most part you can leave your cabbage alone although you want to keep an eye on it once it starts browning. This is the trick and the key to this otherwise not very flavorful soup. Your cabbage should be pleasantly browned, aromatic and sweet. When the bottom layer starts darkening stir your cabbage up a bit. Leaves should be brighter green and the whiter ribs may acquire yellow overtones.
Once your cabbage is tender add your stock or broth. I use whatever I have in the fridge and vary the quanties depending on how much is availabe. Kombu or vegetable broths make the soup vegan while chicken, beef, lamb or heartier ham stock give this soup some additional flavor. Cabbage soup is a wonderful dish for incorporating leftovers so if you have just one sausage, a few slices of bacon or half a cup of squash you can revitalize them by including them in your soup.
A good meal for those who are not feeling well cabbage soup is quickly and easily prepared. Garlic, onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, tomatoes, okra, small pieces of leftover chicken, beef, pork or lamb can increase the volume and nutrient content of your soup. Raw sauerkraut can be served as an appetizer as it aids in digestion, sour cream can be floated on top and there are no end of interesting spice combinations to perk up this plain Jane soup. Offering side dishes of sauerkraut or kimchi with this soup may seem counter-intuitive however it reinforces the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cabbage serving philosophy: "Nothing goes with cabbage like more cabbage."