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04/24/2019

~Slovak Vegetarian Cabbage & Tomato Lover's Soup~

IMG_0945I come from a long line of cabbage lovers.  Known as kapusta in Eastern European inner circles, a week rarely passes that cabbage doesn't make it's way onto the dinner table in some form.  Like my mother, the vegetable bin of my refrigerator is rarely without a head of green cabbage in it. Braised cabbage and carrots and butter-braised cabbage with egg noodles were two of our family's favorite side-dishes.  Mom's stuffed cabbage rolls (made on the stovetop or in the crockpot) and my grandmother's stuffed cabbage soup with mini-meatballs (or with ground beef and rice) were two of our favorite main-dish meals.  That said, her cabbage soup recipe is thick and hearty enough to be served as a meatless meal too -- bring on the bread and butter.

IMG_6742For my nicely-seasoned easy-to-make cabbage-soup:

IMG_0813For the cabbage and tomato soup and soup base:

2  tablespoons vegetable oil

2  cups diced yellow or sweet onion

2  teaspoons sea salt

2  teaspoons coarse-grind black pepper

1  quart tomato or V-8 juice (Note:  My preference is V-8.  The choice is yours.)

1  quart vegetable stock (Note:  My family is not vegetarian and we prefer ours made with beef stock.)

1 quart water

2  10 1/4-ounce cans Campbell's tomato soup (Note:  My grandmother used this beloved soup in place of tomato sauce or tomato paste -- and trust me it is wonderful.)

4  4-ounce cans sliced mushrooms, undrained

2  15 1/2-ounce cans diced-tomatoes, undrained

IMG_0801 IMG_0801 IMG_08011  3-pound head green cabbage, cored and cut into 6 wedges, wedges cut into 1/2"-wide egg-noodle-type strips

IMG_0814 IMG_0814 IMG_0814~ Step 1. Making the soup/soup base.  In a wide-bottomed 8-quart stockpot over low heat, stir together the oil, salt and black pepper.  Add the diced onions.  Give the mixture a stir, to thoroughly coat the onions in the seasoned oil, increase/adjust heat to sauté and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly with a large spoon, until onions are softening, without showing signs of browning.

IMG_0822 IMG_0822 IMG_0822 IMG_0830 IMG_0830 IMG_0830 IMG_0830 IMG_0830 IMG_0830 IMG_0830~Step 2.  Add the tomato or V-8 juice, stock, water, tomato soup, undrained mushrooms and diced tomatoes.  Bring to a steady simmer, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat.  Stir in the cabbage (pot will be quite full), partially cover the pot and cook until cabbage is tender and lost about half its volume, about 20 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pot and allow to steep, while preparing the meatballs as directed below, or, overnight in the refrigerator.  If you have the time, overnight is best, not to mention convenient.

Try it with my mom's homemade egg noodles in it too:

IMG_0965Slovak Vegetarian Cabbage & Tomato Lover's Soup:  Recipe yields Recipe yields 5 quarts soup/12-16 1-1/2-2 cup servings + more if 1-1 1/2 pounds cooked egg noodles are added.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; kitchen scale (optional); wide-bottomed 12-quart stockpot w/lid; large spoon; soup ladle

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09ed9264970dCook's Note: When I was growing up, I don't ever remember eating canned soup (except for Campbell's tomato soup which to this day I love), but, I do remember eating a lot of wonderful soups.  My maternal grandmother made a lot of soups, but one in particular, her heavenly chicken soup served with homemade noodles was served at her kitchen table on Sunday's after church more times than I can count. It is chicken soup for the soul.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)

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