Whenever I see or smell cabbage soup, I think about a brief moment in time (late 80’s perhaps?) when my parents dove head first into the “Cabbage Soup Diet” phenomenon. They had successfully kicked the smoking habit and were now determined to lose a few pounds and declare themselves in optimum health and cabbage soup was going to get them there. For the span of what seemed like a forever, there was a bottomless pot of cabbage soup bubbling away on the stove. The smell permeated everything in the house, including my parents, and I decided then and there that I despised cooked cabbage of any sort. In hindsight, I’m sure that the fad diet didn’t sustain itself for very long in our house since my own father cannot eat the same meal twice in one week much less 3 or 4 times a day, but nevertheless, cooked cabbage did not cross my lips until I was nearly 30.
The catalyst that brought down my loathing of cooked cabbage was my husband’s ham and cabbage soup, a relic of his family that he brought into our marriage along with chicken tortilla casserole and Godfather meatloaf (the meal that stole my heart). The first time he made this soup I eyed it with suspicion, but it smelled delicious, so I steeled myself…and ate 2 bowls in one sitting.
Fast forward a few years, and I now search for a reason to cook a ham so that we can make a vat of this soup to sustain us for a good week. Maybe I’ll start my own “diet”, although I will keep the leftovers in the fridge.
- 1 meaty hambone
- 12 cups water
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 whole carrot
- ½ onion
- 2 t. beef base
- ½ T. chili powder
- ½ t. salt
- ½ t. pepper
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- 1small head cabbage, cored and shredded
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- In a stock pot, submerge the hambone, celery stalk, whole carrot and half onion in the water. Boil for 30 minutes or until the meat begins to easily fall off the hambone. Remove the hambone and vegetables from the broth. Discard veggies and shred the meat from the bone and set aside.
- Stir in the beef base, chili powder and salt and pepper to the ham broth and bring to a simmer. Add the diced onion, shredded carrot, bell pepper, cabbage and potatoes and simmer until the cabbage is tender and the potatoes are cooked through. Stir the shredded ham back into the soup to reheat. Serve and enjoy!