The economy might be in free fall, but at least it’s happening during cabbage season. Sturdy, abundant, and nutritious, the compact heads have always provided sustenance for those who could afford little else to eat during harsh winters (or amidst investment-bank flameouts). In a Recession Special edition of In Season, we bring you cabbage soup, the perpetual plat du jour chez Charlie Bucket before he hit the Willy Wonka big time. This recipe comes from the always fiscally prudent Veselka, which has weathered many an economic downturn and nourished many a starving East Village artist.
Veselka’s Cabbage Soup
1 pound pork butt, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
4 cups water
3 allspice berries
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 cup sauerkraut, plus around 4 tablespoons juice
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, minced
3 stalks celery, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 cups fresh cabbage, shredded thin
(1) Place the pork in a medium stockpot with the chicken stock, water, allspice, bay leaves, and marjoram. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for about 2 hours. Remove the pork and set aside on a plate to cool. Skim fat from stock, leaving a few “eyes” of fat for flavor. Add sauerkraut and simmer for 20 minutes. (2) Add potato and simmer for 5 minutes. (3) Add the carrots, celery, onion, and cabbage and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pork and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add sauerkraut juice. Serves 6 to 8.