I've been on a bit of a cool weather food kick - not that we're having any cooler weather mind you. It's just that being a born and bred Northerner, I crave the change in seasons and the food that goes along with them. Here in Tucson, if we had to wait to have cool weather food, we'd be hanging in there at least until December; however, thank goodness for air conditioning because we needed it last night.
From Food Network, this soul warming hearty soup has all the ingredients and flavor of stuffed cabbage rolls but without the fuss and bother. Loaded with tomatoey goodness, the broth (if you can call it that), is fortified with sauteed onion and garlic and lots of carrot coins too. Once the vegetables have softened, the whole mess a' good stuff is smoothed slightly with an immersion blender (or food processor) before the rest of the good stuff hits the pot. That includes sliced cabbage and meatballs made from ground beef, uncooked rice, onion and spices.
Speaking of spices, I added more garlic along with oregano and red pepper flakes to our pot of glory, along with beef stock instead of the water they called for. I also threw in a couple of tablespoons of Knorr tomato bouillon powder too which is totally optional but really adds to the flavor profile of the dish.
Finished with fresh lemon juice and lovely golden raisins for a touch of sweetness, we garnished our soup with a dab of sour cream just because we like it. This one's a keeper people - definitely hearty and oh so delicious. It'll be perfect for one of those crisp autumn evenings, or when you're feeding the crowd fresh off the slopes this winter.
Hit the link and head on over to see the official Food Network version but I've got my revised recipe listed below. As an aside, the official version says the meatballs take only 25 minutes to cook in the broth but after 25 minutes simmering in my Dutch oven, the rice in the balls was still hard as a rock and took another 20 minutes on top of that to soften up. Next time I'll cook the rice first and cool it down before making the meatballs so it doesn't take so long to cook. It smells so darn delicious, you shouldn't have to wait that long. I've amended my recipe to show the change.
By the way, if you're looking to compare the soup to the real thing and have the inclination, check out the other versions of stuffed cabbage we've enjoyed in JBug's Kitchen and have at 'er. They're all rather tasty and well worth the effort.
Cabbage Roll Soup (from JBug’s Kitchen Antics adapted from Food Network)
1 cup rice, cooked per package directions
2 pounds ground beef (I used ground chuck)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup finely chopped onion
Combine ingredients together and form into 1-1/2 inch meatballs. Refrigerate until needed.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 -1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons Knorr tomato bouillon (optional)
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups low sodium beef broth (or more as needed)
1 bay leaf
1 medium head cabbage
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup golden raisins
Sour cream and parsley as garnish
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds until it starts to give off its aroma, then add onion. Sauté, stirring frequently until onion is softened. Add carrots, red pepper flakes, oregano, tomato paste, tomato bouillon, water, brown sugar, ketchup and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook until carrots are softened – about 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow cooling briefly, and then using an immersion blender, carefully blending until mixture is fairly smooth. Leave some chunks of carrot for texture.
Return pot to heat and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed. Add bay leaf. Cut cabbage in quarters, then remove core. Slice cabbage crosswise into quarter inch strips. Add to the pot and stir to incorporate into tomato mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until cabbage is slightly softened. Stir in enough beef broth to bring the soup to the desired consistency (it is still a very thick soup). Add meatballs to the soup cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Stir in lemon juice and raisins. Cook for additional 5 minutes until raisins are plumped. Serve in bowls and garnish with sour cream and chopped fresh parsley. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
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