by Ashley Fagan
There is something about a cozy bowl of soup that warms your soul on those cool nights as the season changes from Winter to Spring. If I’m being totally honest, I could eat soup during every season. It may be my favorite things to eat. Comforting, nostalgic, delicious, easy, and usually pretty healthy, if you consider all the veg and nutritious broth you’re adding. This soup is truly something special. I was inspired to make this soup by an idea, if my Grandmother were to make a soup, what would it look like? Veg, rich stock, and definitely meatballs! It would have to be healthy yet hearty, and evoke a sense of comfort. It would taste like coming home.
The first time I made this, my husband James proclaimed it to be his new favorite meal, and that’s saying something as he’s been my tried-and-true recipe tester for the last 17 years! He has requested this soup weekly throughout the cold winter months, but I decided to post it now as cabbage is very popular in March due to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. There is also an abundance of Spring produce now available at the market.
Whether you’re still living in the brisk days of Winter, transitioning into the cool days of Spring or just looking for a comforting meal, this soup will surely bring you all the cozy vibes!
For the Pork Meatballs
For the Cabbage Soup
For the Meatballs
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Use a large bowl and place the slices of white bread in the bottom then pour over the milk. Let it sit for a few minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
Add the grated parmesan cheese, parsley, egg, salt and pepper and stir together. Add the ground pork and mix with your hands until well combined but, be careful not to overmix as this will make your meatballs tough.
Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, measure your pork mixture to form uniform portions into round meatballs. I scoop the mixture into my hands, give it a slight roll, and place it directly onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Continue this process until you have used all the pork.
Bake for 25 minutes then set aside.
For the Soup
While the meatballs are baking, heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering then add the onion and Sautee for 5 minutes until it becomes translucent. Next, add the cabbage, salt and pepper. It will seem that your pot it completely full but the cabbage with reduce quite a bit as it cooks and releases its water. Continue to stir and cook until the cabbage has reduced by half its original volume, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and continue to stir occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and place the lid on the pot. Let the cabbage continue to cook for another 30 minutes or until it becomes very tender.
Once the cabbage has cooked down and has become soft and sweet, stir in the vinegar. Taste and adjust for seasoning. You may find you want more vinegar, salt or pepper.
Add the chicken stock and bring the soup back to a simmer. Stir in the rice and add your parmesan rind. Place the lid back on the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, gently place the meatballs into the pot and continue to simmer with the lid off for another 15 minutes.
The soup can be served immediately, or you can let it cool completely and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. It gets better each day it sits. Reheat before serving and add additional grated parmesan if you like.
Would it even be Fall if I didn’t give you a new soup recipe? Of course, it would, but I felt you needed another delicious and creamy soup to keep in your back pocket for when you’re feeling extra seasonal. I don’t like to toot my own horn but “TOOT -TOOT”! This recipe is SO GOOD! I’m not going to lie, it’s going to cost you a bit of clean up, but I promise the results are worth it! Velvety soup, warm and earthy aromas, and a crunchy, sweet topping…ummm, YES, PLEASE! A company worthy dish, sure to impress even your toughest critics! Your guests will love this one so much that they’ll feel obligated to clean the mess up afterwards.
I promise not to tell them just how easy it was to make, that can be our little secret!
*If doubling the recipe, use 2 baking trays to prevent over crowding of the roasted vegetables.
For the Soup
For the Brittle
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, add the butternut squash, onion, fennel, garlic, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss until the vegetables are nicely coated. Evenly spread the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, remove and toss to make sure everything is cooking evenly. Place the tray back into the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
Remove the baking tray from the oven, pick out the three garlic cloves and set them aside. Carefully scrape the rest of the vegetable mixture into a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the sherry, bay leaf and squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the pot, discarding the skin. Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes until the sherry cooks down a bit, then add the chicken stock. Continue to simmer for another 10 -15 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, make the brittle.
In a small pan over medium low heat, add the pistachios, butter and cinnamon. Shimmy the pan around until the mixture becomes fragrant, this should only take a few minutes. Pour in the maple syrup and keep shimmying the pan as it bubbles for 1 minute. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and give it one more shimmy. Pour the brittle onto a plate or small tray and use a rubber spatula to evenly spread out the mixture. Set aside to cool.
Remove the bay leaf from the pot and discard. (DON'T FORGET THIS STEP!! THE BAY LEAF WILL RUIN YOUR SOUP IF IT ENDS UP IN THE BLENDER!!) Carefully ladle the hot soup mixture into a blender...did you take out the bay leaf...do it now! Puree the soup until smooth (leave the vent of the blender off to allow steam to escape but place a clean dish towel over the opening to prevent splatter). Pour the soup back into the pot, you can turn the heat off at this point or set it to the lowest setting to keep warm. Stir in the Crème Fraiche, reserving a few tablespoons for serving.
Once the Brittle has cooled and hardened, break it apart with your hands.
Ladle the soup into bowls and swirl in a spoonful of the reserved Crème Fraiche and a sprinkle of the pistachio brittle, serve immediately and enjoy!
by Ashley Fagan
We've officially hit soup season! The temperature is dropping here in the North East and chilly Fall days call for something warm and comforting. Broccoli and cheddar are a classic flavor combination that has been a favorite of mine since childhood. The only way my mom could get me to eat my broccoli as a kid, was to coat it in gooey, yellow cheese sauce so that only a subtle hint of green could we detected underneath. I can’t really blame the child version of me, cheese will forever be a favorite of mine! This recipe is very reminiscent of the cheesy broccoli soup you can find at the popular food chain...we'll just say it rhymes with "Schmanara". I've upped the veggie content here and opted for a more sophisticated cheese in place of the processed yellow hunk of goodness my mom used to use. I like to use freshly grated, white sharp cheddar here but if you want to stick with the classic appeal, go with yellow cheese. I also cut the veggies into bite size pieces for easier mouthfuls and speed of cooking. Serve it up nice a hot and if you’re feeling extra cozy, eat it straight from a bread bowl! Enjoy!
Serves 4 - 6
Bread Bowls or Hunks of Bread for serving
In a large Dutch oven, over medium, heat, add the 2 T olive oil. Saute the onions for 3 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, add the butter to the pot of veggies. Once melted, stir in the flour (this will create your roux, which thickens the soup) and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Slowly add the chicken broth to the pot while stirring constantly to evenly incorporate the roux mixture without lumps. Add the chicken base and bay leaf to the soup and bring to a simmer.
Simmer the soup over low heat for 10 minutes with the lid ON. Remove the lid and add the potatoes and cauliflower. Continue to simmer with the lid OFF for another 5-7 minutes. Now add the diced broccoli and continue to cook for another 5 – 10 minutes until the broccoli softens but remains a vivid green color.
Stir in the cheese and cream until melted and the soup becomes thick and creamy. Remove the pot from the heat and serve immediately with toasted bread or in a bread bowl!
by Ashley Fagan
When Winter approaches, my cooking style instantly shifts to warm, homey, comforting dishes that will warm your belly and your soul. I started making this soup for my Mom about 10 years ago. She is obsessed with Mexican food, but doesn't like to fuss in the kitchen. This entire dish comes together with little hands on time and can be made with mostly pantry staples you already have on hand! It’s a family favorite in our home and I hope it will become one of yours as well!
For the Spice Blend
For the Soup
In a small bowl mix the spice blend together.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute, until fragrant. Now, add the can of diced chili and the spice blend and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the Tomatoes and sauté for another minute or two until everything comes together and smells wonderful! Add the chicken stock and hominy and bring the soup to a simmer (slight boil). Lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot with the lid. Let it cook for about 30 minutes until the flavors combine and your house smells amazing. While the soup cooks you can shred the meat from the rotisserie chicken. I find it's easiest to use my hands to pick the meat from the bird.
Once the soup has simmered away, add the chicken. Stir and taste for seasoning but, be careful not to burn your mouth... it will ruin your soup eating experience haha! Adjust the seasoning, maybe a touch more salt, maybe more chili pepper if you like it spicy, cumin if you like more zing! It’s up to you!
Serve in big bowls and top with a big squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of cilantro, some shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a big handful of tortilla chips! My husband likes to add sliced radishes as well! It’s totally up to you! Add as much or as little as you want! I love mine with lime, sour cream and cilantro! Yum!