Carrots & cabbage?
I have two pounds of carrots and a cabbage in the frig and I'd like to use them in a vegetarian soup. Would these complement each other or be a fiasco? What other ingredients would you suggest be added to make a hearty soup?
This combo is pretty common from my experience, and the cabbage turns sweet whilst cooking. I make a soup/stew with it that's pretty good, with a base of onions, celery, a can of tomatoes, potatoes, a legume (currently chick peas), and other vegetables you have lying around: spinach, eggplant, etc.
This soup is extremely flexible: I make a large pot, then portion into a smaller one when ready to eat. Then add your spices, condiments, and extras: garam masala, turmeric, cayenne; or basil, oregano, thyme and parmigiano reggiano; beef and barley; etc.
I reproduce a side dish I had in a little Jamaican restaurant. It was sliced cabbage and carrots braised in butter and spices. We love it. They both have inherent sweetness and the color contrast is nice as well. Flavor wise it's a winner.
I made the soup. I used the carrots, cabbage and added a fennel bulb, onion and can of tomatoes as suggested by link 930. I shredded all of the vegetables using just a knife and added them to a large heavy pot with a little water, covered the pot, brought it to a boil and then lowered to a simmer. As the vegetables softened I mashed them and added extra water as needed. For spices I used ground black pepper, salt, cumin and Tabasco sauce. My note about adding spices; I use very little to start and add them towards the end of cooking. Cooking time was around an hour and a half.
I find most soups made by others to be way over spiced with salt being the biggest culprit. This destroys the tastes of the individual ingredients. Like listening to a symphony where the brass is constantly playing at full volume. Using Tabasco, and only a few drops, can add a subtle node to the flavor without being incendiary to the palate and also reduce the needed salt. Soup is much better the second day after it has a chance for the flavors to intensify. Soup is the one thing that you can make better than any restaurant. Try it.