It’s early November and the first winter storm of the season just rolled through Minnesota. I generally try to have a positive tone when I share my thoughts here, but this… sucks. No time to acclimate to lower temperatures over a few weeks, no light dusting of snow that melts away in the sun. Nope. Winter is here and I’m not ready for it yet. Thankfully, we got the leaves raked (barely) and taken to the compost pile, the summer furniture is tucked away in the shed, and my small garden has been cut down. But still, this is ridiculous. Last winter was grueling, to say the least. I want more crunchy leaves on the sidewalks and more bonfires with our neighbors. I want more outdoor runs without the worry of slipping on ice. I realize that I’m going to have to wait months for these simple pleasures again. And I will wait patiently and enjoy them all-the-more when they arrive. There. Now I’m feeling a little bit better.
For now, I will pour myself into doing the things that I love to keep my mind off of the frigid temperatures. Today it’s warm soup and fresh bread. This stuffed cabbage roll soup is a favorite in our house. It has all the wonderful flavors and textures of stuffed cabbage rolls with less work. It’s hearty and filling– total comfort food. But, it’s also healthy. Like, really healthy. It’s loaded with whole foods–grass-fed beef, fresh cabbage, canned tomatoes, brown rice, and zingy fermented sauerkraut. I love to eat cabbage year-round– it’s an underrated vegetable, in my opinion. Not only is it good for you, it has a long refrigerator life. This is much more than a soup– almost a stew. Feel free to add more broth or tomatoes if you like it a little less thick. I think it’s perfect as is, but especially fantastic with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt on top and a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley. I hope you give it a try. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Healthy Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
3/4 cup dry long grain brown rice
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed
cracked black pepper
1 quart chicken broth, preferably homemade
2 cups crushed canned tomatoes (or a 15 ounce can–Muir Glen Organic is great)
2 cups homemade tomato sauce (or a 15 ounce can — again, go with Muir Glen)
3 cups, thinly shredded cabbage ( I used 1 somewhat smallish one)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh parsley
2 cups homemade sauerkraut or store-boughten, preferably fermented
sour cream or yogurt, dill or parsley for garnish
Begin by rinsing the brown rice. Then add it along with 1 1/2 cups of cold water and a pinch of salt to a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 40 minutes. Keep a watchful eye or you may burn the rice. You can always add more water and drain any extra, if you’re worried about that happening.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Drain the grease, if there is any and add the onion and garlic to the pan along with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and some cracked black pepper. Cook the ground beef/onion mixture for just a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens a bit.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chopped cabbage, cooked brown rice, fresh thyme, and bay leaf to the Dutch oven. Cook for about 30-40 minutes over low-medium heat, or until the cabbage has wilted and is tender. Add the sauerkraut and freshly chopped parsley and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the sauerkraut has warmed. Remove bay leaf before serving. Top with sour cream or plain yogurt and fresh dill or parsley. Leftovers may become somewhat thick from the rice absorbing more liquid– it can be thinned out with more tomatoes or broth.
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!