In Season: Cabbage Soup

Jane Austen once wrote: “Who can endure a Cabbage Bed in October?”

Well, it’s November and cabbage is good eating!

Here are a couple of cabbage soup recipes that bring out the best in this (ahem) aromatic fall vegetable.

The Last Cabbage of the Year

The first soup will nourish your inner Hungarian. I tasted it while helping my mom become accustomed to her new living situation, which included a main meal in the dining room of her senior apartment complex each day. This meal always began with a made-from-scratch soup. I asked for the recipe for this soup but never got it, so I reconstructed this recipe from taste memory!  I call it Cabbage Roll Soup because it has most of the ingredients in common with that dish barring rice. If you wanted to serve this thick soup over rice, well that would be just “Moh Betta!”

Cabbage Roll Soup

  • 1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 16-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 16 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1 32-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • One package dry onion soup mix
  • 2 small or 1 medium head of cabbage, sliced thinly

1.       Brown and drain ground beef.

2.       Add garlic, celery, onion, pepper, and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables are tender.

3.       Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer until cabbage is tender.

The second soup is Italian; or rather I first tasted it at an Italian restaurant in Dubuque, Iowa. (Quit rolling your eyes in disbelief—Dubuque has restaurants that serve both northern and southern Italian cuisine.) This is another recipe that I reconstructed easily because it is so simple and yet so wonderful. I call it Turkey Tortellini Soup.  It is only as good as the broth and the tortellini—so don’t skimp on ingredients. Start with a rich-tasting but low-fat broth made from that holiday turkey carcass, (See my November 26, 2010 blog, “Odds and Ends: Don’t Throw Away That Carcass!“) and splurge on some good-quality tortellini.

Turkey Tortellini Soup

  • 8 cups of turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, sliced extremely thin
  • 1 medium grated carrot
  • 1 cup cooked, chopped turkey or chicken meat (optional)
  • 8 ounces tortellini (dry or fresh)
  • Salt (I use bouillon cubes), parsley, and ground pepper,  to taste

1.       Bring broth to a boil and add cabbage and carrot. Simmer until cabbage is transparent.

2.       Add tortellini and cook according to package directions. (If your family really likes tortellini, you may want to add more than my recipe directs.)

3.       Add salt, pepper, and parsley (and meat if you have it) in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

If Jane had had these two soup recipes, I don’t think she would have been unnerved by her cabbage patch. She would have been out there with a big knife, a gleam in her eye, and a healthy appetite! Begonia

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