This soup is a cross between a meaty borscht and my modern-day obsession with caramelized cabbage. Both flanken and cabbage lend a hand in it’s richness, sweetness, and color. Brown food is beautiful.
Some notes: If you choose to make this vegetarian, I would add dried mushrooms to create an umami broth. To make it heartier, add more of the vegetables listed here. Barley would be a nice addition, too. If you can’t find golden beets, any beet would do. I just love the goldeness it creates in the broth.
One thing you should refrain from is cutting time spent on cooking the cabbage. The longer you cook them, the better. I like to go the extra step of patting them down with a paper towel just to take away some excess oil. I also like to spoon some of the fat out of the pot as the flanken simmers. You might find it easier to do that once the soup cools down, though. Up to you!
Caramelized Cabbage Soup with Flanken and Golden Beets
for the cabbage
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 lb green cabbage chopped
- 1/2 cup leek, sliced – or other onion, diced
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tspn sugar optional
for the broth
- vegetable oil to coat pot
- 1-1 1/12 lb flanken cut into pieces between the bones
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 head of garlic halved crosswise
- 1 onion
- fresh herbs of your choosing
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 10 cup water
for the soup
- 2 1/2 cup beets peeled and diced
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced
- caramelized cabbage and onion
- flanken and it's broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
- dill or cilantro to taste
for the cabbage
- Set a deep, large pan over medium-high heat. Add your oil.
- When it’s hot you’ll add the cabbage, leeks, salt, and sugar. Immediately turn the heat down to low and slow cook the cabbage, being careful to not interrupt the browning process by moving the cabbage around a lot. You’ll stir it once every 8-10 minutes til they have deeply browned, about 45 minutes or more. If at any point the pan looks too dry, you may gradually add a bit more olive oil. Set aside in a bowl lined with a paper towel as you work on the broth.
for the broth and soup
- In a large pot set over high heat, brown the flanken in batches. Return them to the pot when the last batch is done.
- Add the vegetables, herbs, salt, and water. Bring it to a boil, cover with a lid, and turn it down to a simmer. For the first 15 minutes, check on it to remove any foamy crud that rises to the top.
- After 1.5 hours, discard the vegetables and herbs and add the beets, carrots, caramelized cabbage. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes, or til tender. Add salt and pepper to taste, and fresh herbs if you’d like.
Originally featured on The Nosher.