Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Cabbage Soup

Although I have never cooked a holiday dinner (having always had a parent or in-law willing to do the honors), I have always wondered how I would go about making such a meal if circumstance required me to do so.

When I was a child, our major holiday meal was Christmas Eve dinner.  By tradition, this was to be a "meatless" meal; that is, fish was the only non-vegetable food to be served.  Our meal was a combination of the exotic (which may well arise from my parents' memories of their European immigrant parents' Christmas Eve meal) and the mundane (i.e., items that could easily be purchased at the local supermarket).  Here are the dishes we always had:
  • Fish (invariably haddock, because frozen haddock pieces from the supermarket were easily bought and prepared);
  • Cabbage soup;
  • Mushrooms (bought canned, and easily heated);
  • Bread (served with honey for dipping);
  • Raw garlic cloves (served with salt, also for dipping);
There could also be other side dishes, depending upon the time and resources my Mom had available, such as carrots, mashed potatoes (Mom made really good mashed potatoes, so they showed up often), etc. But the above items were what made an ordinary family dinner Christmas Eve dinner for us.

The bread and the garlic are no problem. In fact, since most supermarkets now have good bakeries (and some even have "organic" sections) obtaining suitable bread, honey and garlic is easy.  It is also easy for me to obtain raw white mushrooms and sauté them (which easily beats the B&B brand canned mushrooms my mother used).  

The fish would be more challenging, as I have never cooked fish. However, I have a slow cooker cookbook with a recipe for how to steam salmon in the slow cooker, and I see no reason that would not do. It would certainly be more interesting than the bland haddock my mother used to make!

The real difficulty would be the cabbage soup.  I remember how Mom's cabbage soup tasted, and what it looked like (thick, yellow with a hint of green, and buttery).  But I never watched her make the soup and she didn't have a written recipe.  In addition, she died long ago, so I can't ask her.  What I do have is the Internet, where recipes for cabbage soup (like recipes for so many other foods) are legion.

So I have been looking on the Internet, and I've finally found this recipe, which looks as though it comes close. The only difference between this recipe and what I remember is that this recipe uses sauerkraut for the cabbage and oil for sautéing the vegetables. But I could easily substitute freshly shredded raw green cabbage and butter. I plan to try this recipe out in time for the holiday, and blog about the results. Wish me luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment