Cabbage Roll Soup provides all the flavor of cabbage rolls, stuffed cabbage, gołąbki, golumpki, or pigs in a blanket, whatever you call them. The dish that goes by many names is loved by most, yet so many people don’t bother to make it because it is so labor-intensive.
I made two batches of cabbage rolls recently, one for us, one for my folks. When I had made the number I’d planned one, the amount that fit nicely in the pan, I had some of the meat mixture leftover. I could have made more rolls and stuffed them in the pan.
I wasn’t inclined to make more because the last time I overfilled the pan, it took them too long to bake. I was checking the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. By the time the cabbage rolls crammed into the middle of the pan reached a temp of 160 F, many of the others seemed overcooked, a little too firm and dry.
I was hoping for a better result this time and tried something that had been in the back of my mind for a while. I pinched the remaining meat mixture into little bits, about 1/2 – 3/4-inch in diameter. I didn’t bother to roll them into cute little meatballs. I just dropped the tiny blobs on a sheet pan.
I finely sliced some of the cabbage and added that to the sheet pan which I stuck in the freezer. When everything had frozen, I moved it all of a freezer bag, popped it back in the freezer, and forgot about for a month or so.
Doing it this way, using some of what you’ve mixed up for cabbage rolls makes this soup much easier. Some of the convenience is lost if you’re cooking rice and mixing it all up from scratch. It will still be delicious. It just won’t seem as quick.
I can tell you that it was so nice to have almost no meal prep to turn these leftovers into a tasty cabbage roll soup. I came home from work one evening, sauteed a diced onion, added a can of diced tomatoes, a bay leaf, the contents of my frozen bag, some bullion cubes, and enough water to cover it all.
In the time it tastes to feed the dogs, take them out, and change into my PJs, we had a cabbage roll soup. It was delicious. We ate it for two nights, and Ed took some to work for his lunch because I think he likes to make his colleagues jealous.
I’ve noticed that some Polish cooks serve mashed potatoes alongside soup, just plop the potatoes in one side of the bowl and fill it with soup. If I’d had potatoes in the house that would have been the perfect compliment. Next time, I will make sure that happens.
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As always, this is soup, exactness isn’t important. I’m estimating the amounts that I used. If you don’t have something or don’t like something, just leave it out. I’m sure it will be fine without it.
Cabbage roll soup – all of the flavors without all of the work! This is easiest if you’re using meat and cabbage leftover from preparing cabbage rolls.
- 1/4 cup white rice
- 1/4 pound ground beef
- 1/4 pound ground pork
- 1 small egg
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 3 cups chopped cabbage
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 8 cups beef broth or water and bouillon cubes
- a pinch of dried parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the rice according to directions.
- Season the meat lightly with salt and pepper. Combine the cooked rice with the beef, pork, and egg, form tiny “meatballs.”
- Add the onion and butter or oil to a large soup pot, cook over medium-high heat until the onion just begins to brown. Add the cabbage, tomatoes, beef broth, parsley, and the meatballs. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour. (The cabbage will cook more quickly if it was previously frozen.)
- Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
Keywords: cabbage roll soup
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.