Caramelize Cabbage Before Adding It To Soup For An Elevated Flavor

Versatile as it may be, cabbage is not always the first thing that pops up when it comes to making a dish exciting. Perhaps it should be, considering there are so many ways to bring out this cruciferous vegetable's natural flavor depth. In soups, for example, you can do more than just slicing it into ribbons and tossing it into the boiling broth. Take a bit of time to caramelize it for a unique and elevating spin that will make any ordinary soup much more enticing.

In case you were wondering, caramelized cabbage does share a few similarities with the infamous caramelized onion. The caramelization process brings out the cabbage's natural sweetness and deepens it to a richer, more fragrant tone. This also helps to mellow out some of the bitterness that can normally make this vegetable unappealing.

Needless to say, this enhancement extends to any soup base you add it to. Left to simmer in the pot, all of the ingredients — the caramelized cabbage, the hearty broth, the melody of spices, other veggies, and possibly savory meat — meld seamlessly together. What comes off the stove is a pot filled to the brim with luscious, cozy flavors that wrap around your taste buds like a much-needed hug.

A stunning flavor boost for almost any soup

Much like caramelizing onion, caramelizing cabbage is a straightforward process that requires a bit of time. There are some types of cabbage that you should avoid caramelizing, but red and green are the best options since their thick leaves hold up better during the long cooking period. Start by thinly slicing the cabbage, then stir it over medium-high heat with some seasonings. A pinch of salt is often enough, but feel free to sprinkle in other spices. You can also throw in some onion or bacon for even more spectacular flavors. This process may take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Just stir until you notice that the strips have softened and turned brown around the edges.

Once done, you can add the cabbage to a broth alongside other vegetables or use it directly as a base for your old-fashioned cabbage soup. Its hearty, mellow taste will have a pronounced sweetness instead, backed by savory nuances. For a more rustic, earthy taste, consider throwing in potatoes, beets, leeks, legumes, or grains. You can also turn it into a lighter, fresher version of the classic French onion soup. Topped with melted cheese and served alongside toasted bread, it's a surefire stunner at any meal. Even tomato-based soups, like the classic albondigas (Mexican meatball soup), could do with this one-ingredient upgrade. If nothing else, a simple chicken soup is always perfect, even more so with the caramelized cabbage and its rich, rustic magic.