Recipe of the Month: French Cabbage Soup

Recipe of the Month: French Cabbage Soup

The January blizzard here in Wisconsin in January kicked me right into Soup Season! Soups and stews are the best thing about Winter. I prepare large batches of soups that I divide into smaller servings and freeze in my Souper Cube trays to have homemade soup on hand all Winter long. If you are not familiar with Souper Cubes, check them out.

French Cabbage Soup is one of my absolute favorite soups, it is divine. Even people who insist they do not like cabbage, love this soup. I have no idea what makes it "French", because in my book, cabbage soup is a nod to my Polish roots and a comfort food.

Below is the recipe exactly as I make it, but you can modify it to lower the fat content by substituting EVOO or coconut oil for some of the butter, smoked turkey sausage instead of pork keilbasa, and omit the bacon. However, I can not vouch for the flavor if you do this because it's the fat and smokiness that makes this soup so savory and delicious.

French Cabbage Soup


8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 slice of thick-cut hickory smoked bacon, cut into pieces
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
2 ribs of celery, diced
4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 head of green cabbage, about one pound, chiffonade cut (don't use purple cabbage, it turns the soup an unappealing grey color)
1 lb. smoked ham steak, cut into large pieces or you can substitute a 14 oz. ring of smoked kielbasa, cut into coins
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp, dried thyme
Sprig of rosemary
2 quarts of chicken stock (use a good stock, not chicken broth or bouillin cubes)

The roux
6 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup flour
1/8 cup broth


Add the bacon to a large stock pot and partially cook it over medium heat, then leave the bacon in the pot and add 2 Tbsp. of butter, the onion, carrots, and celery, and saute until tender.

Add the ham or kielbasa, potatoes, cabbage, and herbs. Saute 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and 1 tsp. of black pepper. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes.

Make the Roux while the soup is simmering:
Melt 6 Tbsp. of butter in a saute pan and then add 1/2 cup flour. Stir to combine. Then slowly add 1/4 cup of the hot stock from the soup pot, stirring constantly, until it forms a thin paste.

Add the Roux to the soup pot. Stir to combine as the soup thickens.

Simmer another 20 minutes.

Do NOT add any salt until you taste the soup - the bacon and ham is already salty and over-salting will ruin this soup.

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