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.