Creamy Winter Chowder & Crunchy Winter Cabbage Recipe

potato-celery-chowder-cabbage-catfish-recipeWhen I was a kid, I couldn’t stand cabbage – it tasted like old shoes and smelled even worse when it was cooking. But lately I’ve started using cabbage in my dishes, and I’m realizing that the whole trick to enjoying cabbage is to cook it gently. When you do, it retains its pleasing crunch and lightly sweet flavor, making it a welcome addition to stir-frys, soups, even textured sauces. And since cabbage is a cool-weather crop, it’s a great seasonal ingredient to have on hand in the winter months.

And let’s not forget uncooked cabbage, either! Thinly sliced raw cabbage is the basis of coleslaw: just add extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, shredded carrots, and thinly sliced onion. Raw cabbage works well when mixed in most greens-based salads, actually, and sometimes you’ll even see raw cabbage featured in freshly pressed juice blends. The big plus of using cabbage raw vs. cooked is that its high vitamin C content won’t have been destroyed by heat.

Potato-Cabbage Chowder with Spinach & Catfish

1 medium onion, chopped
8 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup water
3 cups whole milk, preferably from pastured cows
Pinch sea salt
3 medium unpeeled yellow or white potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes
Handful of curly spinach
1 T. dried sage
Cooked mild fish such as catfish or trout (optional)*

Either put a pat of butter or ghee into a large soup pot. Add onion, celery, and cabbage and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is starting to become translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in broth, water, milk, and sea salt and increase heat to high.

When the soup comes to a boil, add potatoes, spinach, and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes have reached desired tenderness. Serve immediately, topping individual servings with fish before serving if desired. (By not adding the fish directly to the soup, any leftover soup will last longer than it otherwise would.)

Enjoy!

* I happened to have leftover cooked catfish on hand, but you can prepare a thin filet of fish such as catfish or trout while the soup is simmering. Just put a pat of butter or ghee in a large skillet, then cook fish over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side, starting with the skin side up. When you can flake the center of the fish cleanly with a fork, the fish is cooked through. You may wish to remove the skin before serving.  To do that, just slide a standard dinner knife gently along the skin to loosen it from the flesh.

Note that thicker filets may take longer than 5 minutes. Also remember that the second half of the cook time – after you’ve flipped the fish – generally happens more quickly than the first, so you may wind up cooking the fish for 5 minutes on Side 1 and then only 3 or 4 minutes on Side 2. The fork-flake technique is a sure way to tell if your fish is ready.

Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

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