Monday, January 11, 2010

Hearty Cabbage Soup with Sausage and Potatoes

I saw this recipe on a great food blog called A Smart Mouth, which you can find here. It was just the type of dish I was looking for on a snowy day such as the one we had. We woke up to a couple of inches, not nearly as bad as two weeks earlier, but enough to keep me from wanting to go out and I was in the mood to spend time in the kitchen. The aroma that wafts through the house has you breathing in deeply with a happy expectancy.
Hearty Cabbage Soup with Sausage and Potatoes
Serves 10-12

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large Vidalia (5 cups), 1/2″ dice
3 large cloves garlic (3 tablespoons), minced
1 large green cabbage (18-20 cups chopped), cored and chopped in 1″ dice
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, washed but not peeled, 1″ dice
1 1/2 pounds cooked Andouille or other pork sausage (we love
Niman Ranch’s Andouille), cut in 1/4″ coins
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can tomato paste
8 cups chicken broth, homemade
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon rosemary (about 4″ sprig), fresh or dried
75 grinds black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons sea salt
Brown the sausage. Heat a large pot or dutch oven to medium low. Add the olive oil. Saute the sausage until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes.
Note about sausage: If you’d like to use another sausage try to find a high quality, sturdy pork sausage that has some heat. You can also use less sturdy or raw sausages, but you will want to handle it in the following manner: If it is cooked sausage, brown it in a pan for 5 minutes, cut into coins, and set aside. If it is raw sausage, cook it in a pan on medium until done in the center and browned on the outside, about 5 minutes on each side, then cut into coins and set aside. In both cases, add the sausage 5 minutes before the soup is done to prevent it from falling apart.
Add the vegetables. Add the onion and garlic and saute until they begin to soften. Stir in the cabbage and potatoes, put on the lid and cook for about 5 minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt.
Making the roux. Put the tomato paste in a small bowl with 1 cup stock and whisk until smooth. Set Aside. Stir 1/2 cup flour into the vegetables. Stir it in completely until there is no trace of flour left. Add the wine. Stir. Add the tomato paste. Stir. Add in the broth. Stir.
Season and simmer. Add the paprika, sugar, thyme, rosemary, black pepper and salt. Stir. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. If it is too thick for your liking, add 2 more cups of either water or broth and return to a slow boil for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings. The soup can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for up to one month.

I served this soup with a crusty Bagette the first time. The second time I made cheese straws which you can find here at Blue Ridge Baker's blog. They were great. Hubs decided to break his up like you would regular crackers and put them into the soup to soak up the broth. I have to admit they were very good that way.

We have different tastes in food at times. Gregg loves hot and spicy and I am more on the plain side. Years ago when I would make a dish, even with the seasonings added to it and following the recipe precisely because I was a corner to corner kind of a girl, my dear other half would get the hot sauce and put lashings all over his food. As a young bride being the sensitive little thing that I was, there were certain things that gave me a bit of a complex about my cooking abilities, and I was a wee bit miffed when after six months into wedded bliss, he bought me a cook book. Subtle huh? Months later when I finally asked him he denied buying me the book for any other reason than giving me a gift but a cook book? By my powers of deduction - policeman's daughter you know - I deduced a recipe book wouldn't have even entered his head for a gift, it was a matter of survival. He doesn't remember buying me the book now but quietly I think he got tired of pork chops, lamb chops and overly boiled potatoes, boiled sprouts, cabbage, etc., etc.

I guess I got my own back without intending to because I made a Chinese meal out of the book and put one cup soy sauce into the dish instead of one tablespoon. I had never cooked with soy sauce before. Can we say "pucker up?" I loved him for trying to make the best of it and not wanting to hurt my feelings as he said it was "very good", but I took one bite and threw it into the bin. Bet you're feeling sorry for the poor guy aren't you?

But there you go, that's a newlywed's life for you and we were also still blending the marrying of two cultures and it took a while to figure all that out, because now I am very vocal aren't I Gregg says I, with a hint of a slight chuckle from Gregg? Nothing bottled up for months and months, instant "what the hey". In marriage you have to have communication but in those days I was still keeping a lot of things to myself.

A few years on and there was still a veritable rattling of thoughts and questions going on in my head like "What the hey is wrong with my cooking?" I couldn't understand why he would 'ruin' a perfectly good recipe by shaking hot sauce all over the food but no, I didn't say anything. I also didn't realize that the sauce actually added flavor but more importantly the heat that Gregg enjoyed so much. My plain tastes could not understand the concept of hot sauce in any shape or form.

Yes, it took us a while to sort that out but we did and then years later as I was getting pretty confident, our son came along to make me humble again. He would pile tons of ketchup on top of his plate to camouflage that nasty taste of whatever he didn't like that I served up - broccoli for instance. Was my cooking THAT bad? Broccoli and ketchup, mmmm..... yum! I didn't realize that this was pretty normal stuff for my guys, for a lot of guys from what my friends told me as several of them had the same complaints, or should I say concerns?

When we moved back to the East coast, Gregg left the Navy and was now in a civilian job. One of his colleagues took him to a Vietnamese Soup restaurant around the corner from work. It was his first taste into a cuisine he had never tried before and he took to it like a duck to water, as did our son when he was taken there. Gregg also discovered this new (to us) brand of hot sauce - in my pictures - which we found in all of the Vietnamese restaurants we frequented. We went shopping for it soon after and found it in our local supermarket. It has been a staple in our home for years. If you ask Gregg it goes with everything. Brad's tastes go to the hot and spicy side too but I think I had something to do with that as when we were 'traveling together' and months before he arrived in the world, I had a sudden, inexplicable craving for hot, spicy Chinese food, the hot and spicier the better. Now for me that was a little way out there. I ate so much of that it may be the reason why I reverted back to my plainer tastes later on, but in the meantime Brad's palette apparently was now more like his Dad's.

Ah, thank God for getting older. As the years went by and even though I don't perport to being as good a cook as my mother or Gregg's mother, my confidence began to envelope me like a comfy old blanket. Not tooting my own horn too much, I do a pretty good job of putting a decent meal on the table. Since that first one I bought a lot of cook books and frequently surf all those wonderful food blogs. I evolved like most of us do and I became a better cook the older I got. More importantly I learned to go with the flow. My blood pressure no longer goes sky high when I see the hot sauce being reached for and the ketchup bottle has long been retired.

Other half puts this over everything - I mean everything - but not today. I am getting back to the soup now. Normally I don't like anything too hot and spicy but this left a pleasant heat on the palette that I enjoyed and Gregg didn't have to reach for his special sauce. Yay say I! It won't stay in the cupboard for long but it is having a bit of a rest and the stocks probably just dropped in that company. Sorry guys!

Yes we both loved this soup and it is going in the keeper file. Being the now flying by the seat of my pants kind of cook, I seem to be adapting a little more to what I might already have in the fridge or the cupboard. I didn't buy Yukon Gold potatoes because I already had some red-skinned ones. I used regular yellow onions instead of the Vidalia as I couldn't find them in my local supermarket, and I already had the yellow ones in stock anyhow. I forgot to replenish my rosemary and I used basil instead (we LOVE basil, especially the sweet basil that is served up in those Vietnamese restaurants I mentioned). I already had some bought chicken stock so didn't go to the extra trouble of making my own. And the wine? Not sure how dry Berringer's Zinfandel is but it's our favorite and the bottle was yelling to be taken out of the fridge. When I reached for the measuring cups I spotted the wine glasses on the top shelf. I happily imbibed a glass while making the soup, and had another glass when I served it up.

Gregg came up behind me at one point while I was balancing my laptop in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. He said it was worthy of a photo and that we seemed to be entering a new era in so many ways.

Instead of that photo he wanted to take of my balancing act I took this of the fridge. I know, I am bouncing all over the place and showing you my magnet collection. My Mum was a collector of magnets and apparently so am I. Some we have picked up on our travels and some are from friends who gave us ones from theirs. I also have a few pictures in frame-magnets. I haven't covered my whole fridge yet but it's getting there.


  1. very interesting bio! David doesn't care much for Szechuan sauce, which he finds too hot, but he does like my Thai shrimp curry that I made yesterday. Heat is okay if it is mild and not super hot...

  2. we too are bland eaters, don't like things spicy, funny thing is our son loves spicy food and even our daughter will eat things with a kick to though no spice at all. It must be my British roots?

    Hate to say but that soup reminds me of the cabbage soup diet!! LOL

    Gill in Canada

  3. Well, this posting sure fits your blog name!! Ramble on. It's delightful!
    I like a bit of heat now and then, but I usually pay for it, and Tom doesn't want hot, spicy food. I guess you could say we eat more English than Southern, but modern English - fresh meats and vegetables. No mushy peas here.

  4. I have to say, that soup looks delicious!

  5. Thanks Denise.. That recipe looks really yummy--especially on a cold, winter day. Not sure either George or I could handle hot sauce though.. We always search for the 'mild' variety...

    Love your magnet collection. My frig looks a little like that too--but not nearly as many...

    Have a great day.

  6. Looks delicious, good idea for cold winter nights!

  7. This looks absolutely wonderful. It sort of reminds me of Portugese bean soup which is very popular here in the islands.

  8. Sausage and potato yes, not cabbage uck.

  9. I am with Gill, we are bland eaters but my son is like your hubby, he hot sauces almost everything. I enjoyed reading about your cooking experiences with your husband. Have a nice week.

  10. gigihawaii, now that Thai shrimp curry sounds delicous! We both LOVE Thai food :)

    Gill - That British Woman, yes I think our British roots may have something to do with that though many of us seem to love our Indian curries. Cabbage soup diet? Hubby just said to make some of my cabbage soup before this recipe. He doesn't realize it's a diet recipe.

    Linda Reeder, ah yes, always was a bit of a rambler ;) Yes, I have to be careful too. Mushy peas? Yum!!! I can thank them for my little job at the tea room years ago. I went there in search of them after craving them.

    Limey, thank you, it certainly was.

    Betsy from Tennessee, you're very welcome and it is great on a cold day. Hits the spot! :) It wasn't that bad actually Betsy, on the hot side I mean. I found I could tolerate it very well so that to me meant that it is on the mild side. You could of course go easy on those spices if you made it, or leave them out entirely. Why don't you take a picture of your magnet collection, would love to see them.
    Have a great day too, hugs, Denise.

    Cezar and Léia, most defitely good on a cold winter's night Léia :)

    Kay, Gregg absolutely loves linguica (not sure of the spelling) which is a Portuguese sausage. We can't find it around here and when I cooked up the Andouille he said it was very similar, maybe a little spicier. I think that's part of why he loved this soup so much.

    imac, ah not a cabbage fan aye? Fortunately both Gregg and I love cabbage.

    Margaret Cloud, glad you enjoyed this post. Have a nice week too Margaret.

    And just to prove a point today I made Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with a few slices of red onion in between the cheese. When I popped it on his plate, Gregg reached for the hot sauce, and put it on the side so he could dip his sandwich in it ;)

    Thanks again for all the great comments everyone.