Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Is It Soup Yet?...

A complete dinner in a pot!
Heading out of February, it dawns on me that winter is getting away from us. And lets face it, even a die-hard lover of cold, snowy days like me, is ready for the warmth of spring. But before we get to far ahead of ourselves, let us not forget that March can be a cold, windy, rainy month, and there are still a few Saturdays left to stay indoors and cook!

Tired of my traditional fare, I was going through my soup archives when I looked up at the kitchen TV and saw a rerun of Paula Deen making "Un-Stuffed Cabbage Soup"! I made this before and it was fabulous and why I hadn't thought to make it earlier this season is beyond me. Not only did I make this last year, I altered the recipe just a little to make "Un-Stuffed Pepper Soup"! (I actually liked this better)! But both versions are good stick-to-the-ribs, dip in the bread, slurp when no one else is around, kinds of soup. When it comes to soup, an empty pot is like a blank canvas to an artist...do what you want to it!! So be adventurous and take this winter out with inspired creativity! Try one or both of the following recipes!

Un-stuffed Cabbage Soup


2 pounds ground meat (or your favorite blend of veal, pork and beef)
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coarsely minced onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium cabbage
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup golden raisins
Sour cream and fresh dill, for garnish

For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, rice, salt, pepper, cumin and onions. Form into 1-inch balls and set aside while you make the soup.
For the soup: In a 6-quart pot, sweat the garlic in the olive oil until white in color. Add the onions and sweat until translucent. Then add 1 1/2 cups water, the carrots, tomato paste, brown sugar, ketchup and whole tomatoes with juice. Season with salt and pepper and simmer at a lively bubble for 10 minutes. Crush the whole tomatoes with a potato masher or fork. Continue to simmer until the carrots are tender, about 10 more minutes.
Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth but not pureed. Return the soup to the pot. Remove the cabbage ribs and cut the leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch ribbons. Add the cabbage to the soup and stir to incorporate. Add the bay leaf and simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes more (the cabbage should be reduced in size). Add water to thin the soup to the desired consistency. Add the meatballs and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the lemon juice and raisins 10 minutes before serving.

Un-stuffed Pepper Soup

I basically used the same recipe above with the following alterations; I eliminated the brown sugar, cabbage, lemon juice and raisins. (I also did not garnish either soup with sour cream or fresh dill). Since I personally favor a thinner soup broth, I reduced the tomato past to 1/2 cup and added a cup of chicken broth instead. I then cleaned and cut up three large green bell peppers that I added rather early in the process so they could soften and flavor the broth. It was amazing!  

As the nights start to get a little shorter with daylight still streaming in through the kitchen window at dinner time, it will be tempting soon enough to head out onto the deck and light the grill, but for now, let's slow down and enjoy the comforting warmth that a pot of soup on the stove brings to us. Please let me know if you make one of these fabulous versions!!

Recipe supplied by Paula Deen
Photos by ImageGoggle


  1. This sounds like an excellent soup I am really going to have to try! RubyBeets/Crystal Ps. I love cabbage rolls

  2. It is an amazing soup but obviously can't take credit for recipe. The un-stuffed pepper soup was my favorite but probably because I prefer stuffed peppers over stuffed cabbage! But you will enjoy this!