Authentic German Cabbage Soup
When we lived in Maple Valley, Washington (a sleepy little suburb of Seattle more towards the mountain – Mt. Rainier, that is), our next door neighbors turned us on to the best German restaurant located in Black Diamond. It was down the road and around the bend, so to speak.
Europa was the name, and the food was as authentic as the decor. The best we’ve had. Take a look ~
The fire was always ablaze since the weather is always, shall we say, “not dry.” A cup of soup was always in order as the first course, and among our very favorites was their cabbage soup. The broth could heal.
German Cabbage Soup
It always came with a little, hard roll that you could dip in the broth and soak it up with. Oh boy, that was our favorite part-I can taste it now.
After we moved back to Texas, we missed their wonderful food, and I tried many times to come close to their soup recipe. Finally, just last night, the stars aligned, the moon took over, and as a cosmic force guided my hands and taste buds in yet another try at making a close recipe of our favorite, heartwarming soup.
Now is the time to share it with my friends. Here’s the recipe (as well as other German recipes I love for a complete German dinner). The soup is “healing” and truly magical.
The soup key ingredients:
The only hint I got from the German cook at Europa when I asked for the recipe was that it contained pork broth. That was only when I asked her specifically if the broth was pork. She shook her head “yes,” but somehow I felt she would have agreed with any guess I made to keep her German secret only in the family or maybe just in her head forever. I can’t imagine the ingredients written down anywhere. So I knew I was on my own. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.
My mission in life seems to always try to figure out what’s in a great recipe when the actual recipe is not given or never found.
Here is a gallery of some of their other dishes-stuffed cabbage, spaetzle, German ale, schnitzel with German potato salad, dumplings, brats, red cabbage, sauerkraut and lemon cake.
Feel free to experiment with my recipes. I used this type of bouquet garni that I buy in a bottle already in cheesecloth and tied up. Right before I add the heavy cream, I fish it out with a spoon and remove it. Sometimes I just substitute rosemary or thyme, and sometimes I only use the Italian seasoning.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 thick slice smoked salt pork (or smoked ham hocks or smoked ham)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 package beef kielbasa, sliced or cubed
- salt and black pepper to taste (I like lots of freshly ground black pepper)
- 1 bouquet garni (I buy premade dried herbs in cheesecloth and tied)-usually contains dried thyme, bay, parsley, etc.
- 1-2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- some celery seed
- 32 ounce container chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 head cabbage, cored and roughly chopped into 2-inch pieces (whole cabbage if small)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cubed or sliced
- 10-12 small baby potatoes, cooked unpeeled
- 1 cooked pork chop (I had leftover and cubed, but you can omit or substitute any other cooked meat)-optional
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add olive oil, salt pork, onion, garlic and kielbasa. Stir and cook 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, bouquet garni, celery seed and Italian seasoning.
- Pour in chicken broth and add brown sugar, carrots, potatoes and pork chop.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 1 hour.
- Right before serving, add heavy cream and stir.
- Add whatever vegetables you'd like and omit potatoes if you'd like also. Very flexible, but the broth is the key, so be sure and add the smoked meats.