Kohlrabi, Cabbage and Potato Soup (Winterfeldtmarkt, Berlin, October 20, 2011)

Week two in Berlin and I’m back to something that feels like a work schedule. Diving back in has been awkward after three weeks of semi-vacation and moving, for sure, and part of that awkwardness has been finding the right workspace. In London I was living in something akin to a dorm room with a desk, but here I’m living in an apartment that’s not furnished for studying. That means I’ll be doing most of my work at the museum rather than at home, which is okay by me.

As a graduate student, though, it’s impossible to avoid doing work at home sometimes, as was the case this weekend.

Two golden autumn afternoons were unfortunately spent in my living room dealing with next year’s first grant application. Partly a way to procrastinate and mostly stemming from an actual need to work in exactly the right space, I tried out various parts of my large living-room and I think I found the right spot. Those of you who work at home know exactly what I’m talking about- finding the right place to sit so you can stare out of the window and wish you were doing something else.

The whole weekend wasn’t spent writing trite statements of purpose, though. I did get to go to Winterfeldtmarkt, an excellent weekend market here in Schöneberg. I was really surprised at how good it was. No one raves about Berlin’s markets like they do about London’s, but I’d say Winterfeldtmarkt was superior to Borough Market in both selection (especially of vegetables) and price.

I picked up some kohlrabi, cabbage and various root vegetables and made a soup. My apartment came with a really good blender, so I think puréed root vegetables are on the menu for the next few months.

Kohlrabi, Cabbage and Potato Soup

Notes: when choosing the kohlrabi, pick the one with the best crown of leaves. The leaves are essential to the dish.

Ingredients (as a main for 2 or a side for 4)

2 kohlrabi with leaves

1/2 a small head of savoy cabbage

2 medium sized or 1 large golden potato

1 sweet yellow onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups stock or water (I used half chicken stock, half water)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

First wash and chop the root vegetables and cabbage: Prepare the kohlrabi by peeling off the tough outer skin and separating the leaves from their stems. Dice the kohlrabi bulb into bite-sized chunks and shred the leaves. For the cabbage, first remove the greenest outer leaves, wash thoroughly and cut out the stem. Then roll the leaves together like a cigar and shred. Halve the remaining head of cabbage, cut out the core and shred the leaves. Finally, peel the potato and cut into bite-sized chunks.

Heat olive oil in a stew pot and add diced onions. Sauté until translucent and then add the garlic, diced kohlrabi bulb and potatoes. Let this cook for about a minute and then add the chopped kohlrabi leaves and shredded cabbage. Stir and add salt and black pepper.

Add stock/water to the pot so that the vegetables are just covered. Bring this to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes and kohlrabi are fork-soft, 15-20 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Turn off the heat and transfer the solids from the broth with a slotted spoon to the jar of a blender. Add some of the stock to the blender and blend until very smooth, adding more liquid as necessary. Return this to the stew-pot and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Garnish the soup with a bit of yogurt or crème fraiche and a hint of lemon juice, and serve with hot bread.

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