This is a favourite recipe in the KB Kitchen - a classic Hungarian dish that is enjoyed as soon as cabbages appear at markets and all through Winter and Spring.
I now often reach for my iPad to access my own recipes on this site and was shocked that I had not yet added this - so here you go!
This recipe is from "The Art of Hungarian Cooking" (Bennett & Clark, 1954). I have (for most ingredients) doubled their recipe since the portions they suggest never seem to be enough. Mind you, I also double it because we eat this soup over two days - as is often the case, this soup is better on day two!
Cabbage is a great source for vitamins C, B6 and folate. Have been pondering how often it appears in Hungarian cuisine so I hope to come back to "cabbage" as a theme. BTW, "cabbage lore" refers to a myth that babies came from cabbage patches - any Cabbage Patch Kids in your house?
Getting Ready - some prep ahead ideas:
- cut up the bacon
- cut up the cabbage
- peel and dice the potatoes (cover with water to prevent browning, but drain before using)
1 pkg of bacon (375 gram)
Cut the bacon into half inch pieces and brown in a Dutch Oven or soup pot. Take care to not do this over super high heat. The goal is to render the fat and end up with crunchy bacon bits that become the garnish for the soup. I use all the fat rendered and typically get about 1/2 cup of fat.
The bacon will have left a fond on the bottom of the pan - this will miraculously lift once the cabbage is added - and adds to the flavour!
Scoop out the bacon bits and place on a paper towel to absorb the extra grease. Resist the temptation to nibble or you will not have enough garnish!
4 cups green cabbage
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
I do a rustic chop on the cabbage, keeping in mind that the pieces should be matched to soup spoon size. Add the cabbage to the pot and stir until the fond on the bottom of the pan lifts. There is no need to cook the cabbage for too long in this stage. Briefly remove the pan from the heat while adding the paprika (paprika can easily burn). Add the pepper.
8 cups water
4 cups diced potatoes
2 ripe tomatoes (see Notes)
Return the pot to the heat source and add the water and potatoes. Cook on medium heat for 20 or more minutes (I usually do a bit more) until the potatoes are tender.
Add the tomato and cook for five minutes more.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of bacon bits. After day one, I add the remaiing bacon bits to the soup - they won't be crunchy, but add to the flavour.
Notes and Tips...
- Bacon - I use regular bacon - not salt reduced. You may notice that no additional salt is added to the recipe - though of course you can season to taste.
- Cabbage - this is regular cabbage - not savoy. The original recipe suggests shredding the cabbage - that might be fine for a coleslaw, but is not authentic for soup. You could chop this the day before, or do it while the bacon is rendering.
- Paprika - I use Hungarian mild paprika (not spicy, not smoked - which is really Spanish paprika). You could also substitute paprika cream. [Read more.]
- Tomatoes - If the tomatoes don't pack a flavour punch - there's no point in adding them. if making this in late summer when you have access to fabulously tasty tomatoes, then skin and chop two large fresh tomatoes. Once tomato season is over, reach for canned San Marzano tomatoes. I use about 4 of the tomatoes and a bit of the juice from a 796 ml can. (Refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.) Chop or hand squish the tomatoes before adding them to the soup.
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<== Questions or Comments about this recipe? Visit the Recipe Q. C. page - looking forward to hearing from you!