I was thinking about how to use up the half head of cabbage in my fridge, so that Hubby would eat it, too. I had decided on a simple braised cabbage with sausage. But, when hubby said he could go for some Cabbage Soup instead, I was happy to make it. Basically, this is another cabbage soup. Or, almost a Green Gumbo (Gumbo Z’herbes), without the roux.
Now, he actually likes my regular cabbage soup (Susan’s Cabbage Soup), but he is not a great fan of tomatoey-acidy dishes, so, I was trying to stay away from tomatoes. I also wanted something light, so…
This was also a bit of cleaning out the fridge, stuff that I had on hand or found languishing in the freezer. The only thing I actually bought to make the soup was the sausage! Just any plain old smoked sausage; I used Conecuh, as that is one of our favorite non-Cajun brands. The only other thing I wanted to add to it was some white canellini beans (any canned bean, really), but that was one thing that was not in the pantry.
Well, here goes:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound smoked sausage, diced
- 1 large white onion, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1/2 head fennel, sliced thin
- 1/2 small head green cabbage, sliced thin
- the greens of a small bunch of carrots , or some kale, or swiss chard, or mustard or collard greens
- 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach
- 6 to 8 cups homemade or packaged chicken stock
- about 4 cups water, or as desired
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive in a large soup pot. Add diced sausage and minced onion. Cook on medium as sausages get a little seared, and onions cook down.
When onions are cooked down a good bit, about 10-15 minutes with occasional stirring, add the diced carrots, and the sliced fennel.
Immediately add the the stock, starting with 4 cups, and about 2 cups of water. I always use a 2:1 ratio of stock to water. I also found a large quart of homemade stock in the deep freezer, so used that, plus an extra 2 to 3 cups stock using a stock base (Better than Bouillon). Once that is all stirred in, and the soup is on its way to getting hot again, toss in the remaining vegetables. The cabbage was leftover from last week, the carrot tops left over from some beautiful, multicolor carrots from Whole Foods, the fennel was leftover from using (I like to use the fronds for using, and some of the bulb, but the bulb is pretty tough on the juicer), and the spinach I found buried in my freezer when I found the chicken stock. The soup would have been great with just the cabbage and sausage, and some stock.
The soup was really green from the carrot tops, it took them a while to cook down. I wanted a thin soup, so added extra water as I was dividing the soup between containers to make sure each container had enough vegetable to liquid ratio. Thanks to the sausage and the stock, it was very well flavored. I added probably teaspoon of kosher salt, and a few sprinkles of pepper.
Upon serving, I added a tablespoon of sour cream, and a little sriracha sauce to my bowl; no cheese this time. I really enjoyed it. It was a light, thin soup with a substantial flavor from the sausage.
When the soup was simmering on the stove last night, all the flavors mingling together, my daughter said, “Oh mama, that smells so good!” And then she looked in the pot, all the very, very green carrot tops floating in there, and said, “But, I’m just not sure I can eat that.” One day.
To make Gumbo Z’herbes (Green Gumbo): add a little prepared roux to the onions and sausage at the end of the smothering time, just before you add the liquids. A traditional Green Gumbo has the roux, and at least 5 greens. Greens that can be used such as: Cabbage, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, swiss chard, carrot green tops, beet green tops, parsley, spinach…I’m sure there are more, but that just about covers it. To make a Green Gumbo with no meat for lent, leave out the meat.
Cooking Time: I started cutting the onion and sausage at 7:15, and had the cooled down soup in 8 different containers ready for the fridge by 9:15.
Serves: This made about 8 quarts, most of it intended for the freezer.