Cabbage and Leek Soup (Lahana ve Pırasa Çorbası)

It was one of those days when I had cabbage and leeks on hand and just did not know what to do with them. It was a little cold that day, so I thought “Why not make a soup out of them?” I added whatever vegetables I had in the fridge to the soup.

Cabbage soup is common in Turkey, but I do not recall eating leek soups often. Now that I think about it, I do not recall eating much of cabbage soup either. Maybe it is because I hated cabbage when I was growing up. Nowadays, cabbage soup is more popular than ever back home, since many ladies believe eating cabbage soup will help them lose weight. I am not arguing with that, however I think if you eat only soup (any kind) every day, you will definitely lose weight! In my opinion, it is not the cabbage that allows you to lose weight; it is the reduced amount of food. If one had only tomato or lentil soup everyday, I bet that person will lose weight. Actually, I may have read in some health magazine about cabbage and weight loss here in the States too. My opinion still stands on this though. As I recall, the article did not state that cabbage soup by itself helps weight loss.

Anyway, that is a little background on the cabbage soup. If you like leek and cabbage, you probably will like this soup.

1 napa cabbage or regular green cabbage (chopped)
4 medium sized leeks (sliced)
3 carrots (sliced)
¾ lb mushrooms (quartered)
1 large yellow onion (cut in half and sliced)
3 cloves of garlic (sliced)
1/3 cup and 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
Juice of ½ lemon
1 egg
4 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
7 cups water

Remove the outer leaves of the leeks. Before slicing the leeks, wash them thoroughly a couple times. Slice them and soak them in water for a few minutes. Triple wash them as they will store lots of dirt between leaves.

Heat the 1/3 cup of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes before adding the leeks. Add the carrots and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Add cabbage and stir the ingredients.

In the mean time, in a medium sized pan, heat the 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the flour and stir constantly. Pour in the milk gradually while continuing to stir. Add the egg and keep stirring vigorously so that the egg gets integrated with the rest of the ingredients in the pan. Add the lemon juice. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens (about 6-7 minutes).

Add this thickened mixture to the pot full of sautéed vegetables. Add salt, pepper and water. Boil on medium heat for about 20 minutes and then reduce to low heat for another 20-30 minutes. Serve warm.

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