Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cabbage Roll Soup! Soup!

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This is a picture of my kitchen this afternoon. I just loved the sun shining in - it almost felt like summer. Yep - I still have poinsettias. I love them. I like to try and make them last as long as I can. They are thriving right now. And when they are done - the 'sil will look like this.

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Please don't look closely at my windows. They are dirty. D I R T Y. My window washer is on strike right now. Oh. This just in, apparently we don't 'have' a window washer. Hmmm. Well - that would explain the dirty windows. This summer, I will clean them. I have just committed to it.

Do you like cabbage? Raw? Cooked?

I love it.

I love it raw mostly - but I do like it simmered in a soup, sauteed in butter (I can't have that anymore - because if I do - I will eat it all and gain 10 pounds), in salads... So good.

When I think of cabbage, I think of cabbage rolls, and then I think of home. Not my current home, but my home where I grew up. And when I say 'my home' where I grew up - I don't necessarily mean my home, but I think more my hometown. I am not really sure where I am going with this - or how I am getting there - but hang on - it will all be worth it in the end - especially if you like cabbage.

My mom used to make cabbage rolls when we were kids - not often - but she definitely made them, and they were deelish. I remember my grandma making them too - they were always so deelish too. For some reason what they make me think of - are potlucks, dishes that friends would deliver when a family was going through something - it was a dish that could be dropped off and easily heated up to help with  the dinners. They remind me of family - because I picture women in a kitchen preparing enough cabbage rolls to feed a small army. Lots of casserole dishes lined with cabbage little morsels filled with pure goodness. I guess - they remind me of comfort. Women cooking in groups in a kitchen is pure bliss for me. Oh - I like to cook with men too - but the thought of a bunch of women in a kitchen cooking meals and endless dishes for family and friends is - love. Pure love, bliss and comfort. And then it reminds me of what Italy would be like for me when I go there some day and just cook. Sigh. That is a whole other story.

Then cabbage also reminds me of Cabbage Patch Dolls - remember those? I got one when I was 12. Her name was 'Frederica' but I changed it to 'Twyla'. When I was 12, I loved that name for doll. Oh how things change. I would totally keep the name 'Frederica' now. And then when I think of Cabbage Patch Dolls - I think of this little fella - because his mouth and cheeks look like the mouth and cheeks of a Cabbage Patch Doll. What??? i know - I am odd.

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Alright, back to cabbage. Last week, after a workout someone mentioned making cabbage soup. And for some reason - perhaps it was because I had food on the brain; because I was tired and couldn't think of anything else; or because I want to eat healthy meals full of goodness - I couldn't get cabbage soup off my mind. I hummed and hawed about how I would make it. At first I thought of just simmering it with a few other vegetables in stock. Then I thought about cabbage rolls. And then cabbage roll soup. So, that's what I did. I made the biggest pot of cabbage roll soup last Tuesday night. We liked it so much, I made another today. While prepping chicken, boiling eggs and seeding pomegranates, I whipped a big pot of this soup - and let it just simmer, simmer and then simmer some more.

Traditionally - cabbage rolls have meat in them - but this soup would be delicious done without meat - using vegetable stock - and adding tofu if desired.

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Cabbage Roll Soup

1 small onion - diced
2 packs of lean ground turkey
1 small can of tomato paste
10 cups of cabbage - about 3/4 of a large cabbage - I like to add the remaining 1/4 to salads for the week - chop them into small pieces
5 celery stalks - thinly sliced
1 small can of stewed tomatoes
1 large can of no salt added diced tomatoes
1 container of low sodium chicken broth - I used THIS brand - and I love it.
1 1/2 cups of cooked rice (You can add the rice uncooked - you just need to stir it regularly to avoid it from sticking to the bottom)
Kosher salt and ground pepper

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In a large pot, with a tbsp of olive oil, add the onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add in the ground turkey and saute until the meat is cooked. About 10 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and stir so onions and meat is covered. Add in the cabbage and celery - and stir it all together - letting the cabbage me covered with the turkey and tomatoes. Let this cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the tomatoes and the stock. Add in 1-2 tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp of fresh ground pepper. If you like more - add more. So easy.

Add in the cooked rice - stir it all together - and then just let it simmer. Simmer, simmer and simmer.

I like to try and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes to an hour. This will allow the cabbage to soften slightly and let it absorb all of the delicious flavours.

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The next night - if you don't mind leftovers - you may notice that it is quite thick - when you reheat it, you can add in more broth if you like.

If you try this - please let me know if you like it. I think that you will.

Alright my friends. I have big plans for the rest of the night. Huge. My plan is to try and stay awake until 9. Party Animal!!!

Loves.

Enjoy!

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