I am always a bit wary of buying any type of cabbage for one reason and one reason alone. A head of a cabbage is a lot of food! I always worry that I would use a quarter of it for a dish and the rest would be relegated to the back of the veggie crisper until I get around to cleaning out my fridge…which often goes like this.
However, this week I bit the bullet and bought a full head of Savoy. The cabbage that looks kind of veiny and weird. This guy:
I decided to bite the bullet because I wanted to make soup and I wanted it to be hearty. When I was growing up in Belarus I ate a lot of soups and the ones containing cabbage (they almost all did, along with potatoes) were some of my favorites. Well, maybe not at the time but if I am ever lucky enough to come to my parents’ when there is a cabbage soup going I get über nostalgic. Also, I think that cabbage adds a lot of weight to soups which is sometimes difficult to do without the use of meat.
I based my soup loosely on this recipe. However, I took out the cilantro, and added mushrooms, sesame seed oil, yellow split peas, kale, a stick of cinnamon, caraway seeds, veggie stock, and some Chinese Five Spice mix. I am very terrible at remembering how much of what I put in so I don’t have an exact recipe for my version, but soup is like the easiest meal to play around with so if you are curious about making it yourself just go for it and start adding things to a pot. The best advice I can give, which is also the simplest, is add things slowly, taste, and add more as needed. There are definitely ways to salvage dishes when there is too much of something, but it is much easier to start with not enough and work towards perfection. Also, when tasting try to get a little bit of everything on the spoon to get a better idea of how the ingredients all blend together.
I won’t lie, I was pretty happy with the result and I even have confirmation of the soup’s deliciousness from a dear friend. However, as always I made way too much for myself so I have some frozen for a future fall evening.
Here’s the before and after.
Oh and I should mention that I did have a lot of cabbage and kale left over so I made cabbage rolls and kale salad! I assembled the cabbage rolls on Wednesday night but still have to cook and eat them so if they turn out well I will post something about them. The kale salad was pretty simple and included shredded beets, carrots, and apples, pine nuts, olive oil, and lemon juice. I also tried the massaged kale approach for the first time (you can read about it here) and am pretty impressed with the results. Kale often is a bit too coarse for most people to eat raw, so this is a nice and simple way to soften that sucker up.