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Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

9 Mar
Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

I have a confession to make. I have never made stuffed cabbage rolls in my life. For years and years I have drooled over pictures of them, but the long process to stuff the cabbage leaves and braise for several hours always intimidated me. So I did the next best thing. I turned them inside out and made soup instead! While researching what ingredients go into a stuffed cabbage roll dish, I discovered that every Eastern European country has their own version of this dish. Ukranians typically make theirs with pork, sauerkraut and onions, while the Romanians add a generous amount of fresh dill to their sauce. Polish cuisine mixes ground beef or pork with rice, which is the common Americanized version. Hungarians add paprika to theirs, which I did too. Most of the sauces are tomato-based, except for in Sweden where they typically serve it with Lingonberry jam.

Trying to decide what to put in the soup took me several hours of scouring recipes (in which I could have been actually making the traditional dish!), and finally just had to start making it by the seat of my pants otherwise we’d never eat. I wrote a list of most common ingredients, then started adding them one by one, tossing in a bit of this and a pinch of that. I kept a notepad nearby so I could document what actually ended up in the soup, and how much. Another thing I did was try to healthy it up a bit by using ground turkey and brown rice, and used some homemade no-sodium turkey broth.

I always measure my success with a new recipe by how many servings my family goes back for. In this case, hubby went back for thirds and daughter took seconds. That’s success in my book! This makes a nice bit pot of soup, and freezes well. It also tasted even better the next day as leftovers. On day two, I also added a dollop of sour cream to my bowl, which is another garnish that can be added to this dish.  And please don’t get intimidated by the long ingredient list, it comes together fairly quick and easy. You can also make the cooking time much shorter if you use white rice instead of brown. Brown rice takes a long time to cook at high altitude.

Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or salt, to taste
5 to 6 cups chicken, turkey, or beef broth, homemade or low sodium
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like spicy!)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup brown or white rice, uncooked
2 cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can no-salt tomato sauce
Handful of chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 bag of shredded cabbage (I used the mixed cole slaw with carrots)
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

In a large soup pot, brown the ground turkey and chopped onions in the olive oil over medium heat until turkey is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook a minute or two more. Drain the grease, if any. Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, and add the Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Next add the broth and stir in all the rest of the ingredients except the cabbage or cole slaw and garnishes. Bring up to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer until the rice is cooked through. For brown rice, that took about an hour. White rice would probably only take 20 minutes. Once rice is tender, add the bag of shredded cabbage, bring back up to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes more. Remove the bay leaves, and garnish with parsley or sour cream. There area some exciting tastes going on in this soup!

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