We are well into fall now, with leaves starting to change colors, and crisper mornings and cooler nights. Fall is definitely one of my favorite times of year and aside from the beauty of the season, the produce that is available is spectacular. Squash, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and grapes are just a few things that arrive with the abundance of autumn harvest. Another three foods that I adore, especially in this soup recipe, are cabbage, pears and pomegranates.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that really gives you a lot of bang for your buck. With so many varieties of cabbage, there is something for everyone. In this recipe, red cabbage is the star. Red cabbage has a slightly deeper, earthier flavor and crunchier texture than others types of cabbages, and it is also the only common cabbage to boast high levels of anthocyanin antioxidants that may help in the battle against chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Pears are at their sweetest right now. They are high in fiber, vitamin C, copper and vitamin K. Although they are perfect on their own, they also make a tasty addition to soups and stews.
Pomegranates offer high levels of naturally occurring antioxidants: polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins. In fact, the antioxidant activity in pomegranate juice is higher than that of other free-radical fighters, including blueberry, cranberry and orange juices, green tea, and red wine.
Red Cabbage and Pear Soup with Pomegranate Seeds
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, diced
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 small red cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs), cut into 1-inch chunks
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tsp fennel seeds
• 3/4 cup red wine
• 2 pears, cored and chopped
• 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
• 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Heat the olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salt and cook until onion is softened and beginning to turn golden. Add cabbage and garlic to the pan and heat for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fennel and wine raise heat to medium-high, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add pears, broth, bay leaf, thyme, cinnamon and black pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in lemon juice.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender until the soup is smooth. You can add more broth if it is too thick.
Garnish with a little goat cheese and some pomegranate seeds and serve.
Photo from here, with thanks.