Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mon Petite Chou ... My Little Cabbage ...Cabbage Roll Soup that is!

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?


Noodlegirl said...

Oh gosh that looks soooooo delicous! Yes I do equate food with friends lol.

Manggy said...

Me? I like cabbage! I don't get why there are some people who don't. Well, I guess that means more soup for us, mon petit chou? :) I'm sad looking at your invitation... It'll be a while before I get there! :(

Marjie said...

I love food that takes a long time to cook. I love the smell in the kitchen.

My son Dan is imploring me to write a basic cookbook for college kids, because lots of his friends have no idea what to do with the stuff in the grocery store. Isn't that a sad comment on life? I'm always glad to find you with a new idea for something.

Cathy said...

This looks positively fantastic Paula. I love this type of soup, the slow simmering does magical things to all the ingredients. I haven't made cabbage rolls in ages. I'll make this soup instead.

noble pig said...

So funny but I always call my kids Mon Petite Chou! Always!

This looks delicious! Being Poilish...cabbage is everything!

Cheryl said...

That is a blast from the past, my mom used to make something quite similar, wow I am going to make this! Thanks for sharing and bringing back a buried memory!
p.s. the symbol on the back of my neck means "princess" :)

Katherine Aucoin said...

Soups that take a long time to ccook taste so much better and I bet you are more satisfied with the outcome since you are the chef. This soup looks so rich and flavorful. Even with the warming weather, I would love a bowl of this for lunch.

Spryte said...

Ya know I'm not a cabbage roll fan... but in soup form, I think I'd LOVE it!

Robynn's Ravings said...

Okay, Treehouse Chef showed me how to make a salad with cabbage but I have three heads. This will be dinner because I have everything for this, too!

THANK YOU! Looks delish!

Lynda said...

Oh, Paula, this soup lokks wonderful! I've, actually been craving cabbage rolls, but just didn't want to take the time to make them.Your soup will be perfect! Thanks!

The Blonde Duck said...

You can't go wrong with Alton Brown and Marjie's bread! This is a winner in my book (but most of your meals are!)

Bear's kibble breath is pretty bad, but those big black eyes and wuffles are worth suffering for and having less than steller abs. :)

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i love the look of this soup
cabbage is a great addition to soup - i love to add it to a black bean soup cooked with tomato

Bridgett said...

Normally I just use napa cabbage in a salad. This soup looks so hearty and I love the color...I can almost smell it from here. Looks divine!

Jan said...

I love the rice in this soup. Great recipe!

Grace said...

unfortunately, cabbage is not kind to my digestive system, but i do love a cabbage roll every now and then. in soup form? even better. :)

OhioMom said...

Love this soup, big cabbage eaters here. We like ours fried.

Lisa said...

My husband's family is from Poland and he loves it when I make cabbage rolls. This soup sounds a little easier and I think he might appreciate it too. For my part, I like cabbage. My aunt was German and she used to say, "It's not soup unless there's at least a little cabbage in it." I think it adds nicely to the flavor and consistency of many soups.

Jan said...

After a week of temps in the 70's and 80's, we are now back in the 40's with snow forcast for tomorrow. This sounds like the perfect Spring/Winter warmer.

Jan said...

I was also going to tell you that while my hubby doesn't call me his petite chou, he does call me pea pod. Vegetables have their
place :-)

Anonymous said...

This one caught my eye. I have it simmering in the pot as I write. I look forward to this and a beautiful loaf of Challah. I will let you know how it went. Your blog is awesome. Thanks Rosie

Aggie said...

Oh this is my favorite kind of soup...I love cabbage rolls and love this soup even more!!! Your pictures are making me drool...