Monday, February 17, 2014

Cabbage Soup

     You have to love my Great Aunt Ruthie. A child of The Depression, Ruthie is now a spry 93. I'm not even kidding. At 93, she's complaining that the cancer medication she's been taking for a year has now started making her hair fall out. She's been through like five pacemakers. She still has all her teeth. She's sharp as a tack. She also makes a wicked cabbage soup. Unfortunately, like most of my family, she doesn't commit recipes to paper. They're all locked up in her noggin. When I called her for the recipe, she gave me exactly what I expected: a fairly nebulous list of ingredients with no real amounts specified. Her soup was something to behold. It incorporated a whole pot roast and country ribs. I didn't have some of her ingredients on hand. I took what I did have and ran with her fantastic base recipe. I ended up with a soup that is a fine tribute. I can certainly taste her soup in there, but with new flavors along side. I think it's fitting that two different generations of cooking would combine to make something new, but still honoring the old ways. Maybe it's just cabbage soup. Maybe it's a family timeline that gives you gas. As always, any notes will be in blue.

Cabbage Soup 
Inspired by my Great Aunt Ruthie
  • 14 ounce bag cole slaw mix
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 cup corn relish (if you don't have corn relish on hand, just use a cup of frozen corn topped off with some cider vinegar)
  • If you're feeling lazy, you can replace the previous 4 items with one pound of prepackaged sauerkraut
  • 1 onion, cut into 1" slices
  • 1 medium sized green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 4 potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 can (10.75 ounce) tomato soup
  • 1 can (10.75 ounce) stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1-1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 large pork neck bone
  • 1 tablespoon Old World Central Street Seasoning (available at The Spice House)
  • If you can't get the spice blend, it has a mix of the following: paprika, salt, celery seed, garlic, sugar, pepper, onion, dill seed, curry powder, caraway, scallions, dill weed and bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 43 ounces water (just fill and empty the soup can into the pot 4 times)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cole slaw mix, vinegar, corn relish and vodka. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes. 
  2. In a large pan, heat up a bit of oil, brown the neck bone 3-5 minutes on each side. Set aside. Brown the ground beef, draining excess oil. When meat is browned, put it in the biggest damned Dutch oven or pot you can find.
  3. Add everything else except the the green cabbage. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for one hour.
  4. Add the cabbage and stir to incorporate. Return to simmer; cover and let simmer for another hour.
Good times!


  1. is there any way you can find nutritional info? I'm diabetic and recovering alcholoc so I can't use the vodka...

    1. Unfortunately, I don't have the nutritional info available. It should be fairly low in sugar. Outside of the bit that's in my corn relish (which is optional) I don't think there's really any added sugar. Naturally, the vodka was included on a lark and can simply be left out. No substitute needed.