Monday, December 24, 2012

Cabbage Soup--Success!

I made my first pot of cabbage soup yesterday.  It came out almost perfectly--very close to the soup my mother made.  

Here's what I did. Interested readers can look up my inspiration recipe if they wish to track the changes.

1 onion, chopped.
2 stalks of celery, chopped.
2 pounds of raw green cabbage, chopped.
1 pound of dried yellow split peas.
6 cups of homemade chicken stock (I used the chicken stock recipe in the Soupsong book).
2 cups of water.
Butter (as needed).
Additional water (as needed).
Salt and black pepper to taste.

Saute the onion and celery in butter for about 5 minutes, or until they are softened.  Do the same thing with the cabbage (I used an entire stick of butter for the purpose, adding it a bit at a time as I went through the vegetables).  If you do not do the sauteeing in the soup pot, add the vegetables and any leftover liquid from the pan to to soup pot when finished.

Rinse and sort through the dried peas (for pebbles or any other undesirable items) and add the peas to the pot.  Add the chicken stock and 2 cups of water and stir.

Bring the contents of the soup pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and let the pot simmer until the peas are soft and have released most of their starch into the soup (which took about 3 hours for me).  Add more water during the simmering process if the soup gets too thick before the peas are sufficiently softened.   Season to taste (I used at least 2 teaspoons of salt, and about 1/4 teaspoon of pepper; you may want more, or less, than that.)

Be prepared for a lot of soup!  I filled a three-quart container nearly to the brim.

Many variants are possible.  For example, if you want to make this soup vegetarian, use olive oil instead of butter to saute the vegetables and vegetable stock instead of chicken stock (Soupsong provides a vegetable stock recipe also).  If you like more seasoning, add sprigs of fresh herbs to the pot as the soup boils, and then simmers.  Rosemary, bay, basil, or thyme are each good candidates, or you could use a small bag of fines herbes.  White pepper could be substituted for black pepper if you don't want to risk dulling this soup's bold yellow color.

Enjoy! And have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

EDIT:  (12/27/2012)  I probably should have simmered the soup a bit longer; there were a few bits of pea in there that were chewy instead of soft.  But other than that, the soup came out just fine, and was enjoyed by all.

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