Do you ever equate a certain food to your friends? Years ago, one of the first friends that hubbyman and I made upon moving to Oregon was a lovely couple who had moved here from Poland. Their vibrant verbal exchanges with each other always entertained me, especially when they would slip very naturally into their native language. Growing up around Italians, I was used to being in the company of others whose first language was not English, so even though I didn’t speak Polish, I could follow their conversations based on years of experience. In addition to speaking Polish, my friends were also fluent in French, Russian, German, and English. Oh, how I wish I had learned multiple languages growing up! Anyway, it always cracked me up that one of the terms of endearment that they had for each other was, “Mon Petite Chou”, which is French for My Little Cabbage! To this day, whenever I eat cabbage, which is fairly often, I almost always have a heart warming moment thinking of our old friends!
Today’s recipe will warm not only your heart, but will also warm your insides on these lingering cool days. I love, love, love old world cabbage rolls, but rarely make them. So when it came time to prepare this week’s soup, and I saw the lonely cabbage sitting in my fridge, I thought why not make cabbage roll soup!
Now, let me point out that the version that I make of this soup is not a quick soup. It takes about 2 ½ hours from start to finish, including prep time. Like many good homemade soup recipes, this one tastes better if you let it simmer for a while to develop flavors. It also tastes even better the next day. You could eliminate the long simmering process, but I’d advise against it. Just as a slow braising yields a tender roast, slow simmering the ground beef in this recipe will gift you with an amazing texture and awesome flavor.Just look at the meat! Alton Brown could probably explain how the meat benefits from the long cooking, just suffice it to say that the longer cooking time works here. This yummy bowl of goodness is low in fat and gluten free, too. If you like nostalgic style soups, this baby is for you! Let’s begin.
Cabbage Roll Soup (Makes 10 servings)
1 ½ lbs leanest ground beef
½ onion – chopped
1 garlic clove – minced
Generous dash of Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 teaspoon of dried Thyme
2 teaspoon dried Basil
2 teaspoon dried Oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
2 14 oz cans chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 14 oz cans tomato sauce
6 oz white wine
2 14 oz cans beef broth (or homemade equivalent)
3 14 oz cans chicken broth (or homemade equivalent)
2 cups water
2 cups cooked rice (I used basmati, but any cooked rice will work)
About 4 cups cabbage – sliced into short shreds (about 1 small cabbage. I used Napa this time, but any green cabbage will work)
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper – to taste
Grated Pecorino cheese (or Parma would work fine)In a large dutch oven, brown the ground beef over med high heat. Drain the beef in a colander, and rinse with super hot water to remove any residual fat. Don’t skip this step, as you really want to keep this lean. Put the meat back into the dutch oven, add the onions and garlic, and stir over medium high heat for about a minute. All at once, add the Mont. Seasoning, herbs, tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Bring to a low boil, then add the wine and ½ of the broths and ½ the water. Bring to a low boil again, cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Your patience will be rewarded. After 2 hours, stir in the remaining broths and water, plus the rice and cabbage. Cover and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Let each person season their own bowl with salt, pepper, and cheese, if desired.Mmmmm ... yummy! Come on over; I'll warm up a bowl for you. I ate mine with these darling mini crackers that fit perfectly on the spoon. This would also be great with garlic toast as well as just plain old thick slices of bread. Any and all of Marjie's breads would be great here! Especially that Homestead bread she makes that always makes me want to reach through the computer screen and snatch a slice or two!
So, what do you think of cabbage? What's your favorite variety? How about cabbage rolls? Do you have a favorite family recipe using cabbage that you want to share?