As the weather has remained cold here in the Northeast through March, I have continued to make a big pot of soup every Sunday. I have a few soups that are pretty regular in my rotation, but every other week I usually make something new.
I was scrolling through soup recipes on Epicurious one day when I came across one for Potato, Green Cabbage, and Leek Soup with Lemon Creme Fraiche. I have to be honest with you - I only clicked on the link not because it sounded good, but because it sounded interesting. It was one of those recipes that I read, and still really had no idea what it would taste like. Those of you who love to read recipes - you know what I mean, right? Usually you can read a recipe and between the list of ingredients and cooking instructions you have a good idea of the general flavors and textures. Well, with this one I really had no idea other than getting some brightness in there with the lemon crème fraîche.
I followed the recipe exactly, and while cooking I kept tasting it and started to get really excited for the finished product. As soon as it was done I made a bowl to take a picture, and ended up eating the whole thing. I wasn't even hungry - it was between lunch and dinner time - but it was just THAT good. It was velvety and smooth, tasted mostly like a potato soup with a touch of earthiness, and then had the bright zing of lemon once the crème fraîche mixed in.
I'm so happy I tried this one!
Potato, Green Cabbage, and Leek Soup with Lemon Crème Fraîche
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cups diced green cabbage (1/2-inch dice; from about 1/2 medium head)
- 3 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; 3 to 4 large)
- 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1 2 x 2-inch piece Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- 1 Turkish bay leaf
- 6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (for garnish)
- Whisk crème fraîche, lemon juice, and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Cover and chill. Can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage; sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sauté until cabbage is almost tender but not brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer 1 cup cabbage to small bowl and reserve for garnish (I completely forgot to do this, but really didn't miss it - I liked how the soup was velvety smooth).
- Add 1 tablespoon butter to pot with cabbage; add leeks and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until leeks soften slightly, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in potatoes, Parmesan rind, if desired, and bay leaf. Add 6 cups broth; bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Discard Parmesan rind, if using, and bay leaf. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth (I used a handheld immersion blender). Return puree to pot.
- Simmer until heated through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup to desired consistency (I did not need to add any additional broth). Season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with some of reserved sautéed cabbage. Drizzle crème fraîche mixture over soup; sprinkle with chives and serve.
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