Hearty Fall Soup for Frosty Temps

Chopped leeks ready for some butter

Chopped leeks ready for some butter

The irony of this soup recipe is that I originally tried it back in May, and here it is in mid-October and I finally have all the ingredients available in my CSA basket. It took nearly 6 months and 2 seasons to reach the point where I can prepare the dish from local, seasonal ingredients. The recipe for Cabbage, Potato and Leek soup comes from Melissa Clark‘s NY Times column, “A Good Appetite.”

It is a deeply flavorful, thick and satisfying soup that in my opinion, is much more suited for the fall than early spring, so I’m glad I filed it away in the back of my mind for this season. I was excited to put my frosty leeks to work (truly nothing smells better than leeks sauteed in butter), use up some of that never-ending cabbage, and make some headway in our large stock of potatoes. What sounds like a rather bland and monochromatic soup actually turned out to be quite colorful during the prep stages. The soup was roundly praised by all. Baby Sam asked for thirds. Check out my modified recipe below:


Sliced purple potatoes. Just because.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
8 cups shredded cabbage
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 small new potatoes (I used purple potatoes because I had them on hand) 
3 cups vegetable stock
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 thyme branches
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pecorino Romano rind, or parmiggiano rind (optional)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to serve

1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, add the leeks and cook until soft and golden around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cabbage and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes.

Sauteed leeks

2. Stir in potatoes, stock, 4 or 5 cups water, salt, cheese rind (if using) and thyme. Bring soup to a simmer and cook, partly covered, until potatoes begin to fall apart, 45 to 50 minutes. Add more water, as needed, to reach the desired consistency. Use hand blender to partially puree and remove thyme stems. Season with black pepper and serve, topped with cheese.

Yield: 6 servings


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