Aromas, scents and food are the most provocative memory stimulators for me. When I go out very early in the morning on a warm summer day, the scent of dew, grass, leaves, and nature immediately evoke memories of being at camp as a kid. In the Fall, when I smell newly fallen leaves or hear the crunch as I walk over them, I think of the days back in West Virginia when we’d rake the yard and build a huge mound of dried leaves, then the prize for doing all this work? Jumping in them, rolling, crunching and squealing with joy!
Food also enhances and stimulates my memories of the past. And, this cabbage roll soup is one that makes my heart sing. Mom used to make cabbage rolls, or Croatian sarma, all the time when I was growing up. She’d make huge pots of cabbage rolls. I remember her steaming the large cabbage leaves in the stock pot, pulling them out, letting them cool, then meticulously rolling them, like precious gifts, and securing the cabbage roll with a toothpick. Oh, the scents and the aromas that would bombard the house, all about a thousand square feet of it, as we’d await a glorious meal!
This cabbage roll soup is a take off on Mom’s cabbage rolls. I’ve really made it simple and easy by using prepackaged cooked rice. I chose the long grain and wild to get more flavor, but there’s a selection of types of pre-cooked rice from jasmine to brown to others. The Italian sausage adds more layers of flavor, and I chose the hot version. Making the soup even more flavorful is the dried beefy onion soup; it’s just a quick and simple way to ramp up the taste and cut down on some time in preparation.
This soup will keep for several days. And, it’s perfect for freezing. Think about doing individual servings and taking to work for lunch. Nothing like remembering your childhood and past with food. And, I’m delighted to bring this new version of Mom’s cabbage rolls to you big stock pot! xoxo ~ally
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ lb. ground sausage, hot Italian (preferred)
- 1 ½ tsp. sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp. coarse ground pepper
- ½ tsp. red chili flakes
- ¼ cup concentrated tomato paste
- 1 (1.1 oz.) envelope Beefy Onion Soup
- 1 can (28 oz.) Italian diced tomatoes + one can filled with water
- 1 prepackaged rice (8.8 oz.), long grain and wild
- 5 cups cabbage, chopped
- In a large Dutch pot, put the oil. Turn heat to medium high. Add the beef and sausage and brown.
- Add the salt, pepper, red chili flakes and tomato paste and blend in well. Reduce heat to medium, cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the beefy onion soup, blend into the meat well then add the tomatoes and water. Blend well. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the rice and cabbage. Cover the pot. Cook for 30 minutes. Stir once or twice. Ready to eat!
If you don't want to add pork, just increase the amount of beef or add another ground meat, lamb, turkey, chicken and some red chili flakes (about 1/2 teaspoon).
Add more water if needed. If you want more tomatoes, feel free to add more!