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Cream of the Crop Creamy Cabbage Soup

Creamy Cabbage Soup with Chive Oil and Cumin Seeds

I know that creamy cabbage soup isn’t the sexiest sounding recipe I’ve ever presented. But trust me, this cabbage soup will have you wondering how a homely cabbage can develop such complex sweetness. The answer (of course) is butter. When smart cooks sauté cabbage with copious amounts of cream and/or butter it loses all its cabbagey-ness and takes on an unexpected sweetness. Of course, peak-season farmers market cabbage helps this recipe succeed as well. And not just any cabbage but the tastiest, most prized cabbage of the entire Brassicaceae/Cruciferae family. Savoy cabbage.

The Savoy variety is a bit harder to find than your standard cabbage; and where I live it is much more seasonal. So be on the lookout, its time is now. It’s not hard to recognize. It’s a beautiful emerald green and looks like a giant corsage. A big frilly green corsage, not unlike the one that accompanied you to your senior prom!

Fancy cabbage aside, I know what you’re thinking – cabbage soup is a stinky, slithery mass of green pulp dished up in nursing homes everywhere. While it’s true that boiled cabbage is infamous for its pungent odor, I promise that if you make this soup, your house won’t smell like burnt tires. The nefarious cabbage odor only happens when you boil it for hours on end.
Savoy CabbageSavoy Cabbage

Creamy Cabbage Soup

Which means cabbage deserves better PR. Cooked low and slow with onions in a bath of butter, this soup is stupendous. A bit reminiscent of a classic Leek and Potato Soup with simple but refined flavors and textures. I cannot say enough good things about this soup. Really, even now I can’t stop. It’s that good. This soup is not only delicious but pretty to look thanks to a swirl of bright green chive oil and a penetrating top note from a scattering of freshly toasted cumin seeds.

Which brings me to this creamy cabbage soup and its most important attribute: the wow factor. Nobody expects cabbage to be anything special, so the cook’s art becomes apparent when this lowly offering shines. Serve big fat beautiful spears of asparagus, and your guests will praise the vegetable. Serve a transformative bowl of creamy cabbage soup, though, and everyone will praise the cook. GREG

Chive Oil

Chive Oil

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1 cupSource Bon AppetitPublished

Chive oil can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Chive Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley (thickest stems removed)
  • 1 ½ cup mild flavored oil (such as grapeseed or vegetable)

Directions

Set a coffee filter in a sieve set over a heatproof measuring cup or bowl.

Purée chives, parsley, and oil in a blender until well blended. Transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until mixture is sizzling, about 3 minutes.

Remove chive oil from heat and strain through prepared sieve (do not press on solids or oil will be cloudy); let cool.

Creamy Cabbage Soup with Chive Oil and Cumin Seeds

Creamy Cabbage Soup with Chive Oil and Cumin Seeds

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Source Adapted from Naomi Pomeroy, Taste & TechniquePublished
Creamy Cabbage Soup with Chive Oil and Cumin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and crushed into a pulp)
  • 4 cup Savoy cabbage (cut into thin ribbons)
  • 1 ½ cup water (plus more if needed)
  • 1 cup whole milk (plus more if needed)
  • ½ cup cream
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 dash red Tabasco sauce
  • chive oil (as needed, see recipe)
  • freshly toasted cumin seeds (to taste)

Directions

Melt the butter over low heat in a 4‑qt or larger soup pot or Dutch oven with a lid. Add the chopped onion and half the salt. Sweat the onions, stirring often, until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Raise the heat to medium-low, add the cabbage ribbons and water, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 10 minutes.

Return the heat to low, add the remaining salt, and cook covered, for an additional 40 minutes until the cabbage is completely soft. Check the moisture level and stir the pot often. Add additional water if needed.

Once the cabbage is well softened remove it from the heat and let it cool about 10 minutes, add the milk, cream, and crème fraîche.

Working in batches as necessary use a high-powered blender to purée the soup until very smooth. Test the consistency, it should pour from a spoon in a slow steady stream. Adjust consistency with more milk if necessary. Return the soup to a clean saucepan and gently reheat without boiling.

To serve, stir in lemon zest and hot sauce and ladle the soup into warm soup bowls. Garnish with chive oil and a light sprinkling of freshly toasted cumin seeds. Serve immediately.

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