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Here’s a Dinner You Can Make When You’re Too Tired to Cook

Winter Soup

I know, life’s hard and you get home tired; traffic’s been a bear, the weather’s cold, and everybody’s hungry. Cooking is such a chore then, even if all it involves is punching the button on the microwave. Well, here’s a simple soup you can fix that doesn’t take any more effort than that, really. Well, okay; maybe a bit more. But the aroma and the taste will energize you while it cooks, so there’s no problem! The family will love it too, and you can have it on the table in under 30 minutes.

Gather together the following ingredients:

  • One large Spanish onion
  • Two garlic cloves
  • A tablespoon of light olive oil (or similar)
  • Two medium potatoes
  • One-half of a medium-sized head of cabbage
  • One box of low-sodium chicken broth; 48-ounce size
  • Three small links of garlic sausage
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Some flat-leaf parsley, about a quarter cup of leaves
  • A teaspoon of caraway seeds

Chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Place a large saucepan or medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and then cook the onions for 3-4 minutes, with occasional stirring, until the onion bits soften some and turn translucent. While that’s happening, dice the potatoes (I simply scrubbed mine and left the skins on) and chop or shred the cabbage. When the onion is almost ready, add the garlic and cook, with stirring, for about 30 seconds or so. When the fragrance is making your mouth water, add the broth, potatoes and cabbage.

Cabbages

While the soup is coming up to temperature (leave on medium-high), halve the sausages lengthwise and then cut across into half-rounds, about three slices to the inch of sausage length. Add the chopped meat to the pot and stir to combine. Cover, and once the soup reaches a light simmer, turn the heat down and cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender. Season to taste.

Chop the parsley and stir in for an extra flavor boost, or use as a garnish. Either way, it’s a nice touch for both flavor and color. If you like curly parsley better, go for that.

The caraway seeds can be added during the simmer, or at the end; or if you’re like my wife, you can put them back into the spice cupboard.

Here’s the neat thing about this soup: It’s practically universal! You can use ham, cooked chicken or smoked turkey; almost any cooked meat. If you’d like, add a can of kidney beans (rinsed first). For the potatoes, substitute a few fingerlings, or halved small red potatoes. You can add a small can of tomato sauce, or a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, to give a dollop of red tomato color and flavor to the broth. Use red cabbage, or a mix, for a festive appearing dish. Carrots can go in, or parsnips, even turnips and rutabagas if you like those veggies. Celery doesn’t hurt anything either.

You can add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar at the end to give a bit of a bite to the soup, if you like. (And we like!) I put a bit of hot sauce in mine, to sharpen up the flavor. Serve with hot bread and, if the kids are in bed, a nice white or rosé wine. (Ah heck, serve the wine anyway; just keep it all for the big peoples!)

However you adjust it, this soup’s easy, and perfect for a cold winter’s evening when nobody feels like cooking but everybody feels like eating…

Enjoy the (Perfect Cabbage Soup) Heat!

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