The secret to fantastic soup is its stock or broth. Stock differs from broth in that it has a richer, more intense flavor because bones and/or vegetables are roasted and then simmered for longer periods. Meat stock has a thicker, more gelatinous quality from bone collagen. However, in this recipe we are using low-sodium vegetable stock that has a deeper, less salty flavor than low-sodium vegetable broth, making a darker, more velvety soup base.
With the vegetable variety, some say there is no difference between vegetable stock and broth since neither contains bone. But there is. For a rich homemade vegetable stock, roast or sweat carrots, celery, onion, scallion and garlic before simmering in water with parsley, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt.
The soup’s Asian aesthetics mostly come from Savoy cabbage and shiitake mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms have an intense earthy, smoky flavor prized in Asian cooking. These mushrooms stay fresh for one week in a paper bag in the refrigerator, but before cooking, wipe mushrooms with a damp towel instead of rinsing or immersing in water.
Infused with Savoy cabbage, a winter vegetable, the soup gains its subtle sweetness and crinkly, yet tender texture. Rich in vitamins C and K, and containing glucosinolates that show promising cancer-protective properties, Savoy cabbage does not have the sulfur-like odor or strong taste of green and red cabbage. If Savoy cabbage is not available, napa cabbage, another Asian cabbage, or green cabbage will work just as well.
For added protein and whimsy, omelet swirls say dig-in and slurp to the last warming drop.
Asian Savoy Cabbage and Shiitake Mushroom Soup
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp. sesame or peanut oil
- 1/2 small-medium Savoy (napa or green cabbage, cut lengthwise, cored, sliced in 1/4-inch strips)
- 2 medium-large carrots (cut in 1/4-inch slices)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (garnish)
In small bowl, lightly beat egg. In small skillet, heat oil over low-medium heat. Pour in egg and let evenly coat bottom of skillet. Cook egg until set. Slide egg onto plate. Roll up egg and slice into 1/4-inch rounds and set aside.
In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, stock, soy sauce and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Ladle soup into four warmed soup bowls. Place several egg slices on surface of each bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 90 calories, 3.5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 12 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 460 mg sodium.
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