Monday, October 1, 2007

Cabbage Patch Stew


Okay, friends. Listen up. I'm sharing today one of my very favorite recipes ever. I've been making this soup/stew since about 1966. That's 40 years. Wow. Even surprises me! So why have I waited 6 months to tell you about it, you ask? Simple. It wasn't soup season. This is one of those dishes that sticks to the ribs. Hearty. Hot. If I had a restaurant, say, Carolyn's Country Kitchen, this would be at the top of the menu as Carolyn's signature soup. Or stew. Or stoup, as Rachel Ray calls these kinds of concoctions.

This is so much of a favorite that it's going onto my Top Fav's listed down the right column. Now, you need to love soup and stew to like this recipe. And vegetables. And cumin (although you could leave that out). To me, the cumin is an important component, however, even though it wasn't in the original recipe; that was one of my additions. And you need to like mashed potatoes.

Many of you know how much I like soups, and that I keep a regular stock of soups in my frozen soup library (see my post about my soup library here). The weather has finally cooled off here in So. California, and my fancy turned to soups right away.
This recipe is very easy. A tad different than the norm. It came from a 1954, small, Betty Crocker cookbook. I even remember when I first made it. In Fallon, Nevada. Why I was there is another story, and why I should remember that, I don't know, other than I fell in l-o-v-e with this soup!

Here it is in the pot, stewing away. Note the thickness to it - I had just added the cabbage. Over the years I've adapted it with my own additions (garlic, cumin, shrooms, some heat, etc.) but the basics are the same. A ground beef (or turkey or chicken) and vegetable soup (cabbage, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and kidney beans) with a mound of buttermilk-enhanced mashed potatoes on top. As you eat it, the mashed potatoes just begin to kind of melt into the soup. This recipe is very forgiving. You don't like cabbage? Fine, leave it out. Same with mushrooms. Add corn. Or substitute something else or just leave out the things you don't care for. But, when you prepare it, it needs to have a thick consistency - not a lot of liquid, in other words, but mostly vegies. Here, below, it's in the bowl, ready for the mound of mashed potatoes. The soup mixture is not thickened (like a creamed soup where you've added flour), but it's "thick" with vegetables.

I make this in a very large quantity when I do it because it's a real winner for freezing. I make the mashed potatoes too, and pile them into smaller Ziploc freezer bags (doing the same procedure, flattening them out so they freeze and defrost easily), then the soup goes into a larger bag. When I want a quick dinner I just take out one soup and one potato bag to defrost.
Now mashed potatoes become a weird duck when you freeze them. They lose all their form and become mostly a liquid. So just a warning here - don't be alarmed and think the potatoes are ruined. Once you heat them up, the starch firms them right back up again. Amazing, but true. Sometimes I even put the potato bag (smaller) into the larger Ziploc bag, then pour the soup around it. Then it's all contained in one package. But then you can't get so much soup into the larger bag, so I usually separate them.

About 7-8 months ago, before I had my own blog, I was reading Tummy Treasure, Erika's blog. She was trying to make some thrifty meals, so I emailed her this recipe. She liked it so well she wrote up a blog post about it. I was so thrilled! Wow, my recipe in lights! If you'd like to read it, click here.

If soup season has arrived at your house, I highly recommend this one. A lot. Our son-in-law, Todd, is visiting us at the moment, and he ate two full bowls last night and would have licked the bottom if he could. My suggestion: you need to order up a bowl right away.

Cabbage Patch Stew
Recipe: Originally from a Betty Crocker cookbook.
Serving Size : 8
SOUP:
1 pound ground beef (or chicken, turkey or soy protein chunks)
2 medium onions -- sliced thin
1 1/2 c cabbage -- shredded or sliced thinly
1 1/2 c celery -- diced
2 cloves garlic -- minced
2 c kidney beans -- canned, undrained
2 c tomatoes -- canned, undrained
2 c fresh mushrooms -- sliced
2 tsp chili powder -- or more to taste
1 tsp ground cumin - - or more to taste (I usually add about 1 T.)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c chicken broth - - or water
1 tsp beef broth concentrate -- diluted in water
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c water
POTATOES:
10 med potatoes
1/2 c buttermilk
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
1. Brown ground beef over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, cabbage and celery and cook until vegetables have lost their raw color. Add beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and seasonings (and some water if it appears to be too thick) and continue to simmer for 15-25 minutes. The original recipe called for the addition of 2 cups of water, but I'd recommend about 1 cup, maybe 1-1/2 cups.
2. Meanwhile, boil potatoes until fork tender and mash them using the butter, buttermilk and salt & pepper to taste

3. Serve about 1 to 1-1/2 cups stew per person in large bowls, then add scoops of hot potatoes on top.
Per Serving: 505 Calories; 18g Fat (30.9% calories from fat); 26g Protein; 63g Carbohydrate; 16g Dietary Fiber; 53mg Cholesterol; 155mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

5 comments:

ann said...

Oh that sounds delicious! Faintly Polish or Hungarian or something, but perfectly Betty Crocker. Thanks for sharing. It does sound perfect for that first truly cold fall day. I'll keep it in mind!

Erika W. said...

Mmm. It IS delicious. This reminds me that I should pick up some cabbage and make it soon. My favorite part is the beans- I'm on a bean fetish right now, and anything that includes beans is a winner in my book.

Carolyn, I'd love to add a link to your blog in my blogroll, but I thought I should ask if that would be okay with you. You have some great stories to tell- I would love to share them with my loyal readers.

FOODS & BEVERAGES said...

Mmmmmm,oh my god just reading this blog entry made me hungry!N now i'm going to the store to get some cabbage and try it.Thanks buddy for sharing.

Pixie said...

What a wonderful soup, I'll definately try this recipe as well within the next few weeks!

Carolyn T said...

Pixie - I do love this soup. It's one of my all-time favorites, and what's so funny is that there's nothing all that special in it. Ordinary ingredients, but put them together and they make magic.