Our website has moved! Redirecting to RecipeStudio.com...
If this does not work, please click here.

Cabbage Soup Re-configured

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today was one of those days when everything is just right. I woke up refreshed after a good night sleep full of interesting, yet elusive dreams, and stared through the bedroom window into Sunday morning drizzle. Yes, we had a rainy weekend. Frustrating for some, but not for me. Gardening is necessary at this time of the year, but there are many other things that pop up right when one has to tidy up the garden flattened by winter. A rainy weekend is at rescue! Besides, a cloudy day in spring makes colors of blooming trees more vivid, so we had our morning coffee looking at fabulous forthysia blooms offset by the darkness of maples that are still in half-sleep.
I thanked the Creator for this day, and did what I had to do around house. The chilliness of the day called for something traditional and hearty for dinner. I had borscht in my mind - the czar of Russian soups, but Alex talked me into making shchi ( the czarina of soups, if you will). At first I wanted to make a spring version of this cabbage soup: no meat broth (just water), potatoes, green cabbage, carrots, onion, tomato (may be), and lots of greens. But what can I do with my ever-present-in-the-kitchen hubby who is sticking his nose in everything I cook? He wished another version of shchi - mushroom shchi - the one his mother used to cook for her little boy. It is also a cabbage soup, but with sauerkraut, not fresh cabbage, and dried porcini. OK, I said. You win.
Following my usual habit to alter recipes, I put just a little of sauerkraut and added more fresh green cabbage. Isn't it spring outside?.. To make our dinner even more spring-like, I made a tomato-garlic salad (a new addiction of Alex) and a cabbage-dandelion salad for myself. Salads were followed by puff pastry saury pie, and mushroom shchi. Here's the recipe:


What you need:
Filtered water
1 Idaho potato
1 medium carrot
1 brown onion
A handful of dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup sauerkraut
3 cups green cabbage
6 cups filtered water
Sea salt (or rock salt, or kosher salt)
1 bay leaf
Cayenne pepper to taste
Curry (optional)
Sour cream
Chopped greens

Soak mushrooms in water, and go do your things around house for about 2 hours.
Boil mushrooms in the water they were soaking on medium heat until tender (about 30 min). After 20 min add sauerkraut.
While mushrooms and sauerkraut are boiling, peel vegetables.
Cube potatoes (I prefer small 1/2 inch cubes), add to soup.
Shred cabbage very thinly, and add to soup when potatoes are almost done. Reduce heat to simmer.
Grate carrot, chop onion, and saute them in vegetable oil. Let carrots caramelize a little, it will give the broth an interesting touch. Add this "soup thickener" to the rest of the ingredients. Check salt, add spices, also add some boiling water if the soup seems too thick. Let it all simmer for about 10 minutes. At the end add bay leaf. Remove from the heat, and let the soup stand for about 30 min. For better "brewing" cover with a towel. When serving, put a dollop of sour cream in each bowl and a splash of chopped greens.

Cook soups with filtered water - believe it or not, all tastes better with it.

Try to use organic vegetables - makes a big difference in taste (and for your health!)

Buy good quality sauerkraut (not the one sold in chain grocery stores - try Russian markets instead), or better yet, make your own (I'll share the recipe later)

A nice addition to shchi is rye bread. We had a pie - so no bread today (in attempt to count calories!). I showed it on the picture though...

I have to admit that I am very seldom fully satisfied with my cooking (striving for perfection! :), but today was a special day. I liked everything, everything that came from under my hands. The salads were colorful and refreshing, with just the right spiciness; the pie was surprisingly puffy and light, in spite of being filled with rice and fish; the soup, oh, the soup..... it was so delicious, I didn't even expect it to be this good. Another surprise offered to me by this rewarding activity of cooking!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.