Wednesday, March 4, 2009

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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Joie de vivre said...

Perfect for a cold day!

Selba said...

A simple and yummy soup :)

My Turkish Kitchen said...

Seninle ayni fikirdeyim ama yine de corba hos gorunuyor:)

MAG said...

This soup looks so good and healthy! I'm defenitely giving it a try. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Just like you I disliked cabbage growing up,only to rediscover it later on.I dont know about loosing weight,but it is definitely not fattening..This soup looks very nice, gentle and nourishing,soothing to the soul,just like I imagine a soup should be! optum,Mia

Mediterranean kiwi said...

yes, i have heard quite a few stories about the incredible weight reducing qualities of cabbage, but i'm sure that this is just hearsay - i cannot imagine a greek woman eating cabbage soup without a hunk of bread to go with it!

speaking of leeks - i am a great lover of leek and potato potage (i use a gordon ramsey recipe to make it)

Anonymous said...

This looks really delicious ... i love soups ... this is a must try :)... Laila ..

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Joie de vivre, you are right on!

Selba, thanks!

Iffet, tesekkur ederim.

MAG, let me know if you try it. I always like feedback (good or bad).

Mia, I guess since cabbage is such a low calorie veggie, it is not fattening. And that's why the cabbage soup diet caught on. Ben de optum. Kendine iyi bak.

Maria, you made me laugh. Thanks! I know in that part of the world, we sure all like our bread by itself or with soup!

I wish I could do a study where we have women around the same age, height and weight eat only cabbage soup and another group eating only tomato soup and another group some other vegetable soup with no exercise or other weight reducing efforts. It would be interesting to see if the results would differ among the three groups. I guess we could expand and add a group that eats only salad with lemon and olive oil dressing and see how it works. I always think about these kinds of stuff and wish to do studies just out of curiosity.

Laila, thank you. Hope you try it.

zerrin said...

Çok yaratıcı bir çorba olmuş.Şu soğuk günlerde kesinlikle içilmesi gerek. Ellerinize sağlık. Ben de elimdeki malzemelerden yeni yemekler üretmeyi çok seviyorum.

Soma said...

I love vegetable soups. & I think u r right about having soup & losing wt. I have never cooked leek before.Looks good.