Stretch Your Budget: Cabbage Meatball Soup


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Cabbage Meatball Soup

Monday night is soup night at our house.

I usually make a huge pot that gives us enough leftovers for lunch through at least part of the week. Since I don’t typically buy “lunch food” like deli meat, we rely heavily on leftovers at noon.

Our soup usually consists of homemade broth or stock, some sort of starch or legume, a small amount of meat, and some sort of green.

Sometimes I plan ahead and have these things on hand, sometimes I have to scrounge and get creative with what we’ve got. This past Monday night’s offering was more towards the latter and it was an ominous head of cabbage in our fridge that provided the inspiration for this soup.

Cabbage isn’t a huge favorite of mine but we’re learning to like it because it can be a meal in and of itself or, as with the case of this one; used to stretch something a long way.

I started mine just after lunch and allowed it to simmer in the crockpot all afternoon. I was fortunate to receive a new crock pot for Christmas; the kind with a removable insert that is stove-top friendly. This allowed me to brown and saute the meat and vegetables, add the stock and bring it to a boil before plunking the insert back into the slow cooker to finish. Alternatively, this could just be prepared in a stock pot and allowed to cook over low heat for several hours.

We served this with a loaf of our homemade artisan bread on the side and a dallop of sour cream on top. It tastes lovely just out of the pot, but is even better the day after.

The amounts below are approximate but soup is very forgiving. Adjust accordingly to suit your needs and your taste, but I would wager that the following will provide at least 10 servings.

Cabbage  Meatball Soup

For the meatballs:

1 # of ground beef
1 egg
1t garlic powder
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

For the soup:

Oil for browning
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1t thyme
1/4 c vermouth (optional)
1 quart of beef broth
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
1t – 1T of hot sauce (optional)
2 celery ribs chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes peeled, halved and cut into 2″ pieces
1 large head of green cabbage, quartered and thinly sliced
2T tomato paste
Salt and Pepper to taste

To make the meatballs combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Form into 1″ balls.

In a large pot, heat the oil of your choice, add the meatballs, brown on all sides and allow to cook through. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the stock pot and saute until translucent. Sprinkle with the 1t of thyme, add the vermouth, and stir, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Add the beef broth, tomatoes, hot sauce, celery, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. If necessary add more liquid so that the vegetables are completely covered. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for at least two hours or until the vegetables are cooked through. Add tomato paste to thicken and adjust seasoning to taste. Before serving add the meatballs and gently stir to incorporate.

Makes about 10-12 servings.

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This is my slow cooker! My mother has one and enjoyed it so much she got one for us for Christmas. The fact that the insert can be used on the stove or in the oven makes browning prior to cooking, or thickening after cooking much easier. I love it; and use it at least once a week.


Find this post and others like it linked to: Wildcrafting Wednesday, The Homeacre Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Farmgirl Blog Fest, The Homestead Barn Hop, Homemade Mondays, On the Menu Monday

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Stretch Your Budget: Cabbage Meatball Soup — 22 Comments

  1. Jenny just wanted to let you know I have enjoyed reading your blog. I found you through the barn blog hop. I too don’t like cabbage but this sounds good.

    • Thank you Kelly it is so nice to meet you! I *think* I might have located you on FB unless there is more than one Hickory Grove Farm.

  2. This is vey similar to a soup my Mother In Law would make. She didn’t make meatball or add potatoes. Can’t wait to try it out and compare.

    • Yeah, the meatballs can easily be deleted or substituted for something else. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Jen- I wish I had a bowl of your soup right now. Sounds delicious. I’ll tell Mom you like your pot.


  4. Jenny, this sounds delicious! My next day off, I will have to make this. I work evenings so our dinners are mostly leftovers! I will be using my frozen cabbage. Thanks, Teri

    • I would be interested in learning more about freezing cabbage. I didn’t know you could do that. We just don’t eat lots of it and I hate to let it go bad. Canned cabbage does not appeal to us. Dehydrating ~ maybe.

      • Jenny, I wash and chop my cabbage and then steam blanch for 2 or 3 minutes, dunk it in ice water, dry it a little and package it. I’ve been doing this for several years with very good results. Then, when my recipe calls for cabbage, I just break off a chunk. (I usually use quart size zip top freezer bags). Works great as a veggie, in soup or a skillet dinner. I also dehydrate cabbage and just add it to the crock pot soup/stew. Whenever I use dehydrated veggies in my soups, I add a little extra liquid. This year I did can some cabbage since my family likes it just warmed with s/p. The color is a bit darker but its easy to warm and serve.
        This past week I dehydrated sweet peppers, mushrooms and onions. Teri

        • Teri thank you! This is helpful we’ll give it a try. Who knows, we might event try canning it one of these days.

  5. We just love a great Cabbage Soup and your recipe looks awesome! Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for sharing your tasty recipe with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  6. Mmmmm, this sounds wonderful…especially on a cold day like today! Thanks so much for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday and The HomeAcre Hop!!!

    Have a great week!

  7. This sounds great! I don’t always have time to make homemade meatballs, but always can find the time to brown up some ground venison or beef, so I may try it that way! Found you through the Homestead Barn Hop and I look forward to future posts!

    • Venison would be great! We don’t get it very often (at all in fact; husbie doesn’t hunt) but I have really enjoyed it in the past and I think it would be nice with the cabbage.

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  10. This soup is delicious!!! I made it yesterday and my family loved it! I baked my meatballs instead of frying them. I added a little water to the oinions and cooked them for a few minutes, then added the thyme and the rest of the ingredients. I didn’t use any oil and I didn’t have vermouth which I’m sure gives it a great flavor, but we loved it and will be making it often! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    • I’m so glad you liked it! Yes, I have baked meatballs before and that works well. It is often a much quicker process too. The vermouth is totally optional. I like to cook with it all. the. time. because as you said, it adds a lot of flavor. Thanks so much for your feedback Stephanie!

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