I've heard a rumor that some people don't adore the humble cabbage the way that I do, but I have a hard time believing it. So maybe it is not the most fragrant of vegetables while it's cooking, but the end result is magnificent - delicious, sweet and mellow. Take some of those crunchy cabbage leaves, cook them slowly until tender, and you will end up with some serious comfort food. Let's not forget, too, that cabbage is in season right now, and is a real bargain at the market.
What I'm sharing here is the recipe for my "kitchen sink" cabbage and veggie soup. It's the best way I know to take some cabbage, throw it in a pot with some odds and ends, and turn it into a delicious, hearty soup. Seriously, this soup is so cheap, and contains everything but the kitchen sink! OK, not really everything, but I definitely used up some veg that has been lurking in my freezer and fridge.
I call this a recipe in the loosest sense of the term. It's really more of a guide to using some cabbage, plus whatever veggies you have on hand, to make a soup worthy of a meal. In my version, I used frozen green beans, some corn kernels I had frozen last summer, celery from Thanksgiving that was on its last legs, some carrots, onion and garlic, and a tiny amount of chopped, frozen bell pepper that I had been saving for just such an occasion as this. I also had a bit of pasta sauce I had made with some ground beef the other night, and I threw that in, too. To give a little bulk to the soup, I tossed in a bit of brown rice. This is what I used, because it's what I had on-hand. Your soup will undoubtedly be a little different (but just as tasty, if not even better!)
Let me just say that this recipe is also easy. We're talking, put it all in the pot, and simmer until ready. No sauteing of vegetables, only one pot to wash. Cheap, easy and delicious - what more can you ask for?!
12 cups water
3 tablespoons beef base
1 tablespoon cider or red wine vinegar
1 small head of green cabbage (or 1/2 large head), coarsely chopped
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole or diced tomatoes (if using whole, break up the tomatoes with your fingers as you add them to the pot)
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
4 cups of vegetables of your choice (dice any large vegetables like carrots)
Leftover, cooked meat (optional)
1 cup uncooked rice (or substitute small pasta like orzo or macaroni)
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1. Add 12 cups of water, beef base and vinegar to a large stock pot. Add the cabbage and bring to a simmer. Allow the cabbage to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until it starts to become tender.
2. Add the onions, garlic, and other vegetables to the pot. (Leave out any tender vegetables like frozen peas, or canned green beans until the soup is almost ready.) Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the sugar, and a big pinch of salt, pepper and paprika.
3. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are nearly tender, then add the uncooked rice or or pasta. Allow the soup to bubble gently until the rice or pasta is cooked. Leave the pot uncovered, to allow the soup to reduce a bit.
4. Add in any tender vegetables and any leftover cooked meat (if using), and allow them to heat through before serving.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Shared at: Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Thrifty Thursday Link Party at Living Well Spending Less and Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook. Visit these blogs for more great recipes!