French Cabbage Soup
I have to admit… I took liberties with this recipe a few years ago, and I absolutely won’t look back. See, back in my younger years, I did some time in the kitchen of the old Frontier Motor Inn in Clinton, Iowa as a prep cook. One of my responsibilities was making the daily soup du jour. I got stuck one day and started looking through old recipes in the restaurant kitchen binder. That’s when I found a handwritten recipe for French Cabbage Soup by the owner’s wife, Grandma Baker. (I don’t know what her name was… I only ever knew the owners as Grandma and Grandpa Baker. If you ever knew the Bakers and know what her name was, feel free to comment…).
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Creating a Modern Classic
The recipe that she wrote out was enough to feed a small army. And it was delicious. But… nowadays it’s really hard to find a few of the ingredients that she had listed. So, I did what I do, and I experimented. A few times. Then a few more times. And this new concoction is, dare I say, better than Mrs. Baker’s (God rest her soul… she was a sweet lady.).
Better With Time
It’s true. Even my friend Beth, who hates cabbage, has asked me for this recipe. She literally craves it. And she’s pointed out to me that she hates cabbage. Everyone who’s tried this ends up craving it. Especially on cold fall & winter nights. Thankfully, it’s also really easy to throw together. Warm up a loaf of crusty bread or a few of these rolls in the oven, and you have a thick, hearty meal. Oh, and as for leftovers? It’s even tastier the next day. My husband and I have been known to enjoy a huge pot of this soup for a week of dinners without getting tired of it, and enjoy it more with each passing night. It’s that good. I promise. And have I ever broken a promise to you?
French Cabbage Soup
- 6 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup carrot shredded
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 6 cups beef broth
- 2 cups bloody mary mix (I like Mrs. T’s)
- 1 cup Yukon Gold potatoes shredded
- 1 head cabbage shredded
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme crushed
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
- salt & pepper to taste
- Make a roux from 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and flour. Set aside when thick.
- Brown the beef, carrots, and onion in the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Allow to simmer for about ten minutes.
- Add potatoes, thyme, broth, and bloody mary mix. Bring to a boil, then add roux, stirring well to combine.
- Add canned tomatoes, brown sugar, and cabbage (one-quarter head at a time). Stir gently and cover. (Yes, this will seem like a lot of cabbage. It cooks down really well. Don’t worry!)
- Turn heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, taste. Add salt & pepper to your taste.
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