In high school, I worked at Scandia Bakery in Stanwood, Washington. One thing that impressed me most while working there was watching the lunch counter ladies make homemade cabbage patch soup. There’s just something about little tiny ladies lifting very large pots of ground meat and slicing vegetables by hand that just says love. Add to that bakers dressed in white with huge pot holders in hand pulling trays of hot Swedish Rye Bread out of the oven – an oven that was the size of Rhode Island – and you have, what I decided, would be my home forever. And it is. In my heart.
Thankfully, I have the ingredients listed on a guest check that is straight from the bakery in the 1980s.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 20 ounces ground chicken, turkey or beef
- 1 – 32 ounce box of organic chicken broth (Imagine brand is awesome)
- 1 – 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 – 46 ounce can V8 Vegetable Juice
- 1 – 12 ounce can tomato paste
- 2 – 15 ounce cans kidney beans
- 1 – 15 ounce can black beans
- 1/2 a head of green cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup frozen (or fresh) peas and carrots
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Freshly ground sea salt & pepper
- Seasoning salt like Johnny’s, Spike or Lawry’s (optional)
Heat olive oil in medium-large soup pot. Cook onions over medium heat until light golden or translucent. When onions are done cooking, remove & set aside. Add meat to the pot and cook until done. If using ground beef, drain excess grease a bit if needed before moving on with the recipe. Add remaining ingredients and allow soup to simmer for up to an hour, depending on how cooked you enjoy your cabbage. If soup doesn’t seem flavorful enough, gradually add salt until you can enjoy all the flavors.
Through the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe here and there but this is the version my family adores. Hopefully when they see this tiny lady making cabbage patch soup in a medium-large pot, it says love.