Cooked With Vegetables

Creamed cabbage soup

Soups with cream are usually called “cream of” followed by the main ingredient. You have cream of mushroom soup, cream of asparagus soup, cream of chicken soup… Mushrooms don’t have cream; neither do asparagus nor chicken. You can squeeze them as long and as hard as you like and you won’t get any cream out of them. So, I figured I shouldn’t follow the old misleading pattern. It’s bad enough that I already did in the past when I cooked my real cream of mushroom soup. This time, the title is a more apt description — creamed cabbage soup.

What does “creamed cabbage soup” refer too? It’s cabbage soup to which cream has been added. Half-and-half, to be more precise. My family is sort of on a soup diet because my younger daughter had her dental braces attached last weekend and she’s having difficulty eating the usual fare at home. I refuse to let her eat instant noodle soups so I’m trying to be as creative as I can.

You can actually make two kinds of soup with this recipe. The cabbage soup is complete even before it goes into the blender so if you want to enjoy it that way, you can. But it doesn’t become creamed cabbage soup until after it has passed through the blender, reheated and the half-and-half is added.

But before I proceed to the recipe, I have to mention that good broth is essential for making this soup. I know it’s tempting to use broth cubes but I really wouldn’t recommend the locally available ones with the unmistakable smell and taste of MSG. It’s easy enough to make good-quality homemade broth. It doesn’t even entail a lot of work because you just leave everything to simmer in the pot.

That said, the recipe…

Ingredients :

8 to 10 cups of meat or chicken broth (fish broth will do just as well)
1 head of garlic, crushed and finely minced
4 white onions, finely chopped
8 tomatoes, diced
a handful of fresh basil leaves (or about a tbsp. of dried basil leaves)
a pinch of cumin
1 medium-sized cabbage (or half of a large one), finely shredded as though you were make cole slaw
4 tbsps. of butter
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 c. of milk
1 c. of cream
chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Cooking procedure :

Saute the garlic, onions and tomatoes in hot butter until they start to soften. Add the shredded cabbage and cook, stirring, until the cabbage starts to wilt. Pour in the broth. Add the basil and cumin. Season with salt (to taste) and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for one hour.

At this point, you have a completely cooked cabbage soup. It’s ready to serve and delicious the way it is. If you want to transform it into creamed cabbage soup, read on.

Cool the soup. Use a large strainer to separate the vegetables from the broth. In batches, puree the vegetables in the blender, adding a cup of broth to each batch. Use the pulse method if you prefer not to completely liquefy the vegetables.

Return the vegetables and all of the broth to the cooking pot and bring to a soft boil, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat.

In a bowl, stir the milk and cream together. While stirring the soup with one hand, pour the half-and-half slowly with the other. Taste and adjust the seasonings; the addition of the half-and-half will make the soup a bit bland.

To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and top liberally with freshly ground pepper. You may also add croutons and grated Parmesan cheese if you like.

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