Seasonal Soups and Stews: Hungarian Cabbage Soup

Chase away the winter blues with robust seasonings.

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Try our Hungarian Cabbage Soup. Caraway and thyme add a fresh flavor to this hearty soup.

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We teach you how to make cabbage soup the way it was meant to be enjoyed. This was a favorite of many of our friends from years ago at Hilltop Herb Farm. SERVES 8 TO 10

• 2 1/2 pounds meaty beef bones
• 1 cup chopped yellow onion
• 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
• 2 tablespoons paprika, preferably Hungarian
• 1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seed
• 8 cups water
• 5 cups canned, chopped tomatoes, with juice
• 1 1/2 pounds green cabbage, finely shredded
• 1 pound apples (cored and coarsely chopped)
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 4 large bay leaves
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (4 to 6 sprigs or 2 teaspoons dried leaves)
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Brown the beef on all sides in a heavy pan (not a deep soup kettle).

2. Add the onion and garlic; cook until golden but not browned. Add the paprika and caraway and cook briefly to toast the spices. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let cook at least 1 1/2 hours until the vegetables are soft and the flavor is rich. Add more water to keep the soup at approximately the same volume. Add salt and pepper toward the end of the cooking time; taste and correct seasoning, adding additional thyme, salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice.

4. Remove the bones, chop any meat still on the bones, and return it to the soup.

Note: This soup can be prepared with diced beef stew meat or with canned or homemade beef stock; adjust salt as needed.


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Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay are a mother/daughter team living, gardening, and cooking at the Festival Institute in Round Top, Texas. Madalene serves as the curator of the gardens and Gwen is the director of Food Service.