Note to Readers: This post marks a new step for The Dinner Hour. Each Monday you can check the blog for a new recipe and a quick read. Although my food photography skills are lacking, I will try to offer a decent photo or two. My hope is that this gives readers something to look forward to. Any feedback is appreciated!
I've read many recipes for cabbage soup, and, to be honest, none of them ever sounded very appealing. I do like raw cabbage, but I've never been to interested in cooked cabbage. But yesterday I walked into New Seasons and stopped at their tasting counter (yes, I realize this is direct consumer marketing, but at New Seasons even that feels friendly!). They had samples of a cabbage soup that tasted delicious. I picked up the recipe and realized I had several of the ingredients already in my pantry. So, I decided I'd pick up the remaining ones and make it for dinner that night.
I have to say the best part of this meal was its simplicity. It took me no more than 15 minutes from prep to stovetop. If you have a good pantry with winter veggie staples this meal should not require too much. If apple cider vinegar isn't a staple in your pantry, go get some today. It's delicious in many recipes from deviled eggs to coleslaw dressing. TIP: Vinegars can be purchased in gallon jugs -- this is the best bang for your buck, and they don't go bad.
I suspect you could even make a tasty version without the pork, although in that case the seasoning may need tweaking or simply substitute veg stock for some of the water. I scaled down the meat quite a bit for this soup because it's cheaper and fits into our eat-less-meat motto. The recipe calls for pork shoulder, but I purchased two country-style ribs from the butcher and got away with just the right amount. Any slow-cooking cut would be suitable for this dish.
Pork Cabbage Soup
Adapted from New Season's Sophie's Kapusta
1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 medium head of green cabbage, cored and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed
2 large waxy potatoes OR other low-starch potato
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
Apple cider vinegar and additional S &P to taste
Mild greens of your choice (fresh chopped spinach or beet greens are good)
Put the meat, onion, cabbage, sauerkraut, apple and seasonings into soup pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until meat is tender, approximately 1 hour. Add carrots and potatoes. Continue to cook until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Add vinegar to taste preference (try 1/2 cup and then sample). Add salt and pepper as needed. Just before serving, add greens for color.