Monday, August 1, 2016

Cabbage Soup

The unpredictability of midwestern weather is truly exemplified by the unexpected summer thunderstorms. It can pour down all morning making you walk through deep streams of water to get to work, and by the time you leave for home, the sun would have dried everything up so well, it’d make you wonder if the rain that had completely drenched you from head to toe, really happened - well, unless your feet are still frozen cold from wearing wet shoes all day! Oh well.. I really do like rain, so no complaints!

It’s those rainy days that make me crave a comforting bowl of soup. As much as I like indulging in creamy soups such as broccoli-cheddar or tomato basil bisque, nothing beats a delicious hot broth-based soup. I make cabbage soup often, adding whatever else I have on hand. Corn is one of my favorite things to add to this soup to get a burst of juicy sweetness every now and then. Sometimes I add broccoli to the same soup, even chunks of potato or some boiled chickpeas. The key to tying all these flavorful ingredients together is the broth that’s infused with ginger, garlic and bay leaves. You could also add peppercorns, or cloves if you prefer. I like to make my own vegetable stock*, but a readymade one or even water could be used in this soup.


Ingredients: (~4-5 servings)
½ medium cabbage - chopped
½ - ¾ cup chopped onion
½ red pepper - chopped
1 small carrot - thinly sliced
¼ cup corn kernels (~½ ear of corn)
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove - minced
½ inch piece of ginger - grated
Salt and/or soy sauce - to taste
~3 cups water/stock* (See note at the bottom for making homemade stock)
½ - 1 tsp oil
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Heat a little bit of oil, add onions, pepper, ginger, garlic and bay leaves, and sauté over medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add corn, pepper, cover and cook for a minute until veggies are slightly softened. Add cabbage, mix well and saute for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock or water, season with salt or soy sauce and ground black pepper. Soy sauce is especially a good choice if you’re using water instead of stock. Increase the heat, let the soup come to a boil and add more stock as necessary. Add chopped parsley if desired.
Serve hot alongside some hearty toasted bread or a light salad with fresh greens.



*Note: An easy way to make vegetable stock at home is to save vegetable scraps in an airtight bag or container in the freezer. That way, when you need some stock, all you have to do is add them to water, let it boil and reduce for some time, strain and use in your recipe. I’ve even used ice cube trays to freeze extra stock. The good thing about this is that you can control what you put in it and can even flavor it as you like - I like to add ginger and/or some whole spices when I’m making the stock.

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