Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cabbage Soup

When I decided to make this and started to research recipes, I had no idea that cabbage soup was an extreme-diet thing.  I just had half a head of cabbage left over from the Chinese Couscous and needed to do something with it.  I thought I was going to find Polish recipes for cabbage borscht or something.

The fact that I bought the head of cabbage at all is testimony to trying to improve my diet.  My personal aversion to this leafy green stems from my mother making corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick's Day.  Remember, I was raised Jewish.  She just liked the holiday and found it necessary to torture the rest of us with boiled cabbage, bland potatoes, and terrible corned beef.  By trying to change my opinion of this food, I'm making a real effort.

If you're not trying to do some kind of weird cabbage cleanse, it looks like cabbage soup is similar to chicken soup.  That means there's no wrong way to make it.  Chicken broth, beef broth, add meat, add pasta, change up the veggies.  Really, the only constant is half a head of cabbage.  I put a small bulb of fennel in it instead of celery because I liked the brightness that cilantro brought to the Chinese Couscous.  I have no problem with anyone switching it back.  My version here is based on what I have on hand and my current nutritional goals.

1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 C)
1 Tb olive oil
*1 quart low-sodium broth (I used veggie)
*1/2 head of green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 small fennel bulb (about 1/2 lb), thinly sliced and tops discarded
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 C dry quinoa, soaked and rinsed if necessary
lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large saucepan, sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, cabbage, fennel, and tomatoes with their juice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

2.  Add dry quinoa and continue to simmer until it's done, about 15 minutes.  If it absorbs too much liquid, add water 1 cup at a time.

3.  Taste.  Add a touch of lemon juice, salt, and pepper as desired.  Serve hot.

Serves 3 to 4

Difficulty rating  π

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