Cabbage Velouté with Lemon Confit

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Cabbage Velouté with Lemon ConfitI know cabbage velouté isn’t the sexiest-sounding soup, but trust me when I say this recipe will change the way you think about this cruciferous vegetable. When you cook cabbage with cream and butter, it loses all of its cabbagey aroma and takes on a sweet, subtle flavor that reminds me of a classic vichyssoise made of leeks, potatoes, and cream. This soup looks and tastes very refined. I like to serve this dish before something hearty, like Fennel-Brined Pork Loin.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups finely diced yellow onion
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 4 cups sliced green cabbage, in ⅛-inch-wide ribbons
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups whole milk, plus up to 1 cup more if needed to thin
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¾ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Lemon Confit Crème Fraîche, at room temperature,
  • for garnish
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Herb oil, for garnish
  • 10 strips diced lemon confit, for garnish (optional)
How to Make It
  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt and sweat the onion until translucent, 6 to 7 minutes. Don’t allow the onion to take on any color. Add the garlic paste and continue to sauté for 5 minutes, until fragrant and no longer raw. Like the onion, the garlic should not take on any color. If the onion and garlic color, they will turn the entire soup an unappetizing shade of beige.
  2. Add the cabbage and the water, cover, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the cabbage begins to become translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, stir to combine, and turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer gently until the cabbage has completely softened, about 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Carefully add half of the hot soup to a blender along with half of the milk, cream, and crème fraîche. Remove the plastic insert from the lid of the blender and replace with a kitchen towel to allow some steam to escape. Purée the soup, starting on low speed until just blended, about 30 seconds, and then turning to high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. If you have not used a high-powered blender, strain the soup through a chinois into a clean saucepan. If you have used a high-powered blender, pour the purée directly into the saucepan. Repeat with the remaining half of the soup and the remaining milk, cream, and crème fraîche, adding the blended soup to the saucepan. To test the consistency of the soup, pour some soup from a spoon; it should pour easily in a steady stream. If it doesn’t, thin it slightly with the additional 1 cup milk. Be careful not to overthin the soup or the garnishes will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Season the soup with the lemon zest and Tabasco for balance, then taste and adjust further as necessary. You shouldn’t really taste the lemon zest or the hot sauce. They should blend seamlessly into the soup.
  5. To serve, test the consistency of the crème fraîche by pouring some soup into a ramekin and topping it with a spoonful of the crème fraîche. If the crème fraîche sinks, thin it with a tablespoon or more of heavy cream, until it floats on the soup. Once the crème fraîche has reached the correct consistency, warm the soup bowls (see Soups) and gently reheat the soup over medium-low heat until hot. Divide the velouté among the warmed bowls. Place a dollop of the crème fraîche in the center of each bowl and dot a few drops of herb oil on top. Drag a toothpick or the tip of a sharp knife through the oil droplets to create the design in the photograph and sprinkle with diced lemon confit. Serve immediately.

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