This cabbage soup recipe makes one of my husband's favorite soups. A bit of juice for the sweet, some cider vinegar for the sour, and you end up with an awesome sweet and sour cabbage soup. And it's quick and easy, so it's a great meal to make when I've been busy all day!
The other good thing is that this cabbage soup recipe really lends itself to tweaking. In fact, I never really measure anything out – I only measured things once so I could write this recipe! That's the great thing about soup. It's so easy to add ingredients and remove them, based on what you happen to have in your fridge, and what you like best. So if you want something a bit more meaty, don't be afraid to add a little ham or chicken!
So go ahead, and see if you like this sweet and sour cabbage soup as much as we do. It's pretty good for you, tastes great, and you can tweak it just the way you like it, and make it your own.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
I like to use a mix of bacon grease and oil to sweat the onions. The smell and flavor goes really well with cabbage. I don't suppose it's really healthy, but then, how much damage can half a tablespoon do in a big pot of otherwise great-for-you soup?
Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Cook them, stirring occasionally, until the onion start to become translucent.
Add the cabbage, carrots, and potatoes to the pot. Mix well, then cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir it every so often.
Add the juice, chicken stock, vegetable stock, cider vinegar, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir well.
The amount of salt you'll want to add depends on how salty your stock is. I always use homemade, unsalted stock, so I add a bit more salt to the soup. But if you're using boxed or canned stock, you might not need to add much salt.
Start by adding 1/4 cup of cider vinegar, then add the rest in 1 tbsp at a time, until it tastes right to you.
Cover the soup and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Serve, and enjoy!
I find that the best way to make this cabbage soup recipe is to prepare the ingredients while other things are cooking. I chop the cabbage while the onion is cooking. Then I'll toss the cabbage in, and grate the carrots and potatoes. It's just a little more efficient that way, and it works great if you don't have anything else going on in the kitchen.
Don't grate the potatoes too far ahead of time, or they'll start to turn brown.
If you prefer, you can just dice the carrots and potatoes, so that your soup has little chunks. Either way is good, and it all comes down to what you prefer. Just remember, diced vegetables take longer to cook than grated ones. Test the soup before you serve it to make sure everything is cooked.
I use a mix of chicken and vegetable broth for this cabbage soup recipe. I find that just using chicken broth makes it too chicken-y, and that's not the flavor I'm going for. Two cups adds a bit of depth of flavor, but doesn't overpower the soup. But you could easily use all chicken stock, or all vegetable stock. It all comes down to what you prefer, and what you have on hand.
You can use the whole head of cabbage if you like. Soup doesn't really need exact measurements. I just use 3/4 so that I have some cabbage left over for coleslaw!
You can add the vinegar in 1/8 of a cup at a time, mix the soup, and then taste to see if it's to your liking. My husband and I love the sour taste, so I go for the full 1/2 cup. But you could also use a little bit less, if that's what you prefer.
This soup gets better the longer it sits. You can make this cabbage soup recipe ahead of time, and it'll be even better the next day.
You can use other kinds of juice than apple. But if it's really strongly flavored, like cran-grape, don't use the full cup or it'll overpower the soup. Just add a bit at a time until it tastes good!