To wrap up a month of cooking the variety of the root vegetables that I had in the crisper, I thought I’d share a lovely soup that is vaguely Viennese. Although it is a real clean-out-the-fridge event, it originated with a recipe from Perla Meyer’s cookbook, Fresh from the Garden. I am a fan of hers, having virtually cooked my way through The Seasonal Kitchen. Her emphasis on ingredients that are fresh and in season aligns with my way of thinking, and her Austrian and Spanish roots shine through in her appealing recipes (she hails from Vienna but grew up in Barcelona).
What really makes this soup sing is the addition, at the end, of sour cream mixed with red wine vinegar, sugar and dill. You can skip the sour cream but the vinegar and dill are important to the taste. As expected, this keeps well and tastes better the next day. If making ahead, wait until you’re ready to serve to add the cream and vinegar mixture.
Beet and Kohlrabi Soup with Cabbage
2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
2 leeks, cleaned and finely diced
1 small onion, cut in ¼-inch pieces (optional)
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
4 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2-3 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
5-6 medium beets, peeled and cut into matchsticks or ¼-inch cubes
8 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
½ small savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
½ sour cream
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup minced fresh dill
Melt the butter in a large pot and add the leeks, onion if using, carrots, kohlrabi and potato. Stir to coat and cook for about 5 minutes. Add a little salt at this point. Stir in the beets and add the chicken broth. Cook at a simmer, partially covered, for 45-60 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Season to taste.
If serving right away, mix the sour cream, red wine vinegar and sugar together and add it to the soup, cooking slowly (no boiling or the cream will curdle) for about 10 minutes. Serve with plentiful dill. OR mix the sour cream, red wine vinegar, sugar and dill together and serve a spoonful on top.