This is my version of the soup that is part of the "Cabbage Soup Diet." I've heard so many complaints about how awful that soup was, but mine tastes (and looks) great. Well, I think so, anyway. I make it every year about this time. After the overindulgence of the holidays, it's great to come home to a soup that's warming and takes more calories to eat than there are in it! I've added a few optional "watery" vegetables. [I don't use all of the optionals at one time.] —ChefJune
a huge amount!
olive oil (optional but it helps to caramelize the onions)
large onions (try red ones for a change)
large head cabbage (choose green, red or Savoy -- vary for diversity)
2 or 3
large bell peppers (I like to mix up the colors -- it makes the soup prettier!)
whole bunch of celery, (including the leaves)
4 or 5
large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
(35-ounce) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes and the juice
bunch fennel (optional)*
bunch escarole chiffonaded (optional)*
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
caraway seeds (optional)
any other herbs you'd like! (I usually add a bay leaf.)
You will need at least a 12-quart pot to cook this soup because the raw ingredients take up a lot of space. Heat this pot over medium-low heat, then add the olive oil and swirl it around the bottom.
Coarsely chop the onions and add to the pot. Next cut cabbage into small pieces and add it. Clean and cut up all the other vegetables and add to the pot. Add herbs and salt and pepper. Bring the whole thing to a rollicking boil.
Lower heat, cover and let simmer until the vegetables are soft and soup-like. This will take a couple of hours.
Teacher’s Tips: *Feel free to add greens other than escarole, like Swiss chard, spinach, collards, broccoli rabe -- but not all at the same time. This soup keeps very well in the fridge -- for a loooong time. You could also freeze it, but I think it has better texture if you don't, because freezing makes the vegetables mushy.