The timing is perfect! This entire first week of the new year 2014 is supposed to be sub freezing in the NYC metro area.
This Friday, January 2nd, the weathermen & women predict a low of 4 degrees fahrenheit and below zero a little bit further up north.
Besides, or in addition to, a blazing fireplace...what better way to keep yourselves warm and cozy but with a nice hot bowl of soup and a loaf of your favorite bread?
In this case, pumpernickel or rye is my choice to accompany this recipe of Unstuffed Stuffed Cabbage Soup.
The one beautiful thing about this recipe is that all you have to do is put everything in the pot...in almost no particular order...and simply let it cook. The only work is to drain the excess liquid fat out of the beef.
Are you ready? The shopping list/ingredients include:
5 lb. green cabbage...sliced thin and thick. I like two or even 3 widths.
3 lb. chopped beef ...cooked/fat drained
1 very large onion ...diced and sauteed
3.5+ quarts water
3 cups apple cider vinegar (suggestion: Bragg's organic)
4 large lemons/prefer using a juice machine or hand juicer
2.5 cups brown sugar
8-10 oz golden raisins
2 large apples/ chopped fine or Cuisinart
1 1/4 cup your favorite white rice (I like Arborio)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 28 oz. cans plum tomatoes pureed in a blender or Cuisinart (I prefer San Marzano Italian tomatoes)
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
...and you will need at least a 12 qt. stockpot...20 qt. preferred
*On medium high, break up and cook ground beef until pink is gone. Immediately drain off excess liquid fat and set aside
*Saute on medium heat in same pot one very large chopped onion until translucent
*Put beef back in pot with sauteed onions...add 1 Tbsp kosher salt...and stir
*On same medium high setting, add tomato paste to beef and stir. This step colors the beef a more palatable pale orange vs. brown. It's not critical you follow this step, however this is my preference. It will also add a slightly more pronounced tomato flavor.
*Add the pureed tomatoes, water, vinegar, juice from the 4 lemons, brown sugar, apples, the rest of the salt and sliced cabbage to the pot. I put the cabbage in last. Bring to a light boil and then reduce the heat to medium low
*Cook covered stirring once every 15-20 minutes for about 2 hours
*After that time add the rice and raisins. This step will thicken the soup and it will require stirring more often (about every ten minutes). Cook partially covered for about 45 more minutes and then taste and determine if you feel a need for more salt.
Stir...turn off heat...and let sit covered for about 30 minutes before serving
*Serve with bread and butter. Yum!
Serves 15-16 as a main course with bread. You can always cut the recipe in half if you don't want to make that much
Depending on how thick you like your soup, you may want to add more water while heating up to serve. That's it!
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