St. Patrick’s Day Cabbage Roll Soup

March 17th, 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. In honor of the occasion I have made my friend Maxine’s cabbage roll soup. This is not a typical St. Patrick’s day dish by any means. As a matter of fact it’s origins are in Eastern Europe I am sure. But cabbage is associated with St. Patrick’s Day, so it seemed fitting that it could be served to celebrate this day.

Our Mothers and Grandmothers made cabbage rolls – at least mine did. About ten years ago I asked my Mother to show me how she made her cabbage rolls and we spent a memorable afternoon boiling and rolling cabbage around ground beef and rice. The rolling had to be just so, with the edges tucked and sealed before being placed in the pot atop shredded cabbage to protect the leaves from burning. My Mother’s hands were as deft and sure as mine were clumsy and hesitant. And I learned more than making cabbage rolls that day.

Maxine’s Grandmother also made cabbage rolls. Over the years she has adapted the recipe into a soup using the same ingredients that her Grandmother used, but simplifying the process. The first time I tried this soup I loved it. It has delicious meatballs in a fragrant and flavorfull cabbage soup, accented with raisins and a sweet and lemony taste. Maxine, thank you for sharing your recipe with us.


For the Soup:
1 head of cabbage, shredded
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup raisins
5 cups water

For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground chuck or round
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup bread crumbs

In large dutch oven saute onions and garlic in small amount of olive oil till soft. Add salt and pepper. Add shredded cabbage and lightly saute till soft. Add tomatoes with their liquid, tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, raisins and 5 cups water. Stir to blend.

Mix all meatball ingredients. Form cocktail size meatballs from mixture and add to liquid. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy. Serves 4 to 6.

Printable recipe

13 responses to “St. Patrick’s Day Cabbage Roll Soup”

  1. I haven’t had cabbage rolls in a long time. Yours look over the top. I am going to try and make them; I’ll just keep to myself that cabbage is involved…they’ll never know.

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have added you to my blog roll and am one of your followers now 🙂 Your food looks delicious and your kitchen is to die for!!!

    Happy St Paddy’s Day!

  3. Penny says:

    Katherine – I remember your family’s aversion to cabbage. This does not smell cabbagy at all.

    Vanessa – Thank you. I have added you to my favs too.

  4. Grace says:

    i’m not wild about cabbage, but even i can’t deny the deliciousness offered by your soup here. bravo!

  5. Natashya says:

    I have never been very good at rolling cabbage, this looks perfect to me!

  6. Debbie says:

    I absolutely love cabbage rolls and have a recipe for them on my blog! I always make a lot so there will be leftovers galore. Your cabbage roll soup looks so good. I will have to try that!

  7. Debbie says:

    Meant to tell you that your kitchen looks gorgeous. Is that stove a Viking? My husband wants to get one when he retires next year.

  8. Penny says:

    Grace – Maxine’s soup is really good. Thanks for visiting.

    Natashya – Why didn’t out Grandmothers think of this? Same flavor without the work.

    Debbie – My stove is a 5 Star which is a division of Viking. It has 6 burners, one with a wok ring, and a griddle. It has one gas oven and a large electric convection oven which can be a regular oven if you want. It is so new to me that I am still learning it and when I get back to Lake Lure I plan on cooking three trays of cookies at the same time because they say that you can. I highly recommend this stove and will keep you posted on it’s performance. Will look for your cabbage roll recipe.

  9. BMK says:

    This looks fantastic. Too yummy, to save for just one day a year!

  10. Christine says:

    This looks great, Penny. Easy and comforting.

  11. This looks very good. I’m glad you have made it easy. I’m not sure I could do the cabbage rolls.

  12. katiez says:

    I love cabbage rolls – but don’t make the often as they are so fussy (read: always in a rush). I love this soup!
    (Oh, and those Tea Cookies….Yum!!!)

  13. Penny says:

    BMK – I am freezing some for a cold day.

    Christine – It truely is comforting. Something about the meatballs cooking in the soup enriches the meaty goodness.

    Foodie – No need to roll. It’s all here.

    Katie – This should work well with your current cooking facilities. All on the stove top. Can hardly wait until you can bake.

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