It probably goes without saying that fall and soup go together…well…like…fall and soup.
One of my favorite ways to cook is to bring together simple, “poor people” food and hope to do mothers and fathers proud everywhere.
You have heard me say before that food made by the peasant class can be quite simply the very best the world has to offer. Even many pretentious French dishes have roots with the kitchens of former servants and blue collar workers. Cheap cuts of meat, left overs, gathering bits and bobs from the garden, and bringing them all together for a simple meal that defines comfort food.
After having some un-seasonally warm weather this past week in the Seattle area, we now appear to be heading into the fall with a relentless push. Today was overcast, a tad rainy, and downright chilly. So I altered the week’s menu and pushed my “Polish” Cabbage and Kielbasa Soup to tonight. It was a great choice.
Not exactly sure where “Polish” came from except that kielbasa is one of that nation’s great contributions to dinners everywhere. I am fortunate to live in a community where we can get REAL GOOD, all-natural kielbasa (Uli’s at Pike Place Market in this case). In case you were wondering, REAL kielbasa is not a reddish tint that we were fooled with as kids. No, it is a deep, fall-like misty gray, with simple seasoning and tons of flavor, especially in a dish like this.
Polish Cabbage and Kielbasa Soup
There will be about 8 cups of chicken stock involved (preferably homemade) and you should start by taking 1 3/4 cups of stock and bring it to a boil. Then add a cup of your favorite rice (tonight was TJ’s brown medley) and bring it back to a boil with a pad of butter. Let simmer per rice package instructions (nuttier, brown rices take longer) until the rice has absorbed your stock. While that is going on, sauté 1 chopped onion in a glug of olive oil for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Cut up your kielbasa and add and sauté together for about 8-10 minutes. Add a half head shredded cabbage (the bag at TJ’s is fine too) and cook for another 2 or so minutes until the cabbage wilts. Add the remaining stock and check the seasoning. If you like it, stir in the cooked rice and let simmer on super low until ready to eat. Serve with your favorite bread (I love pan de campagne or any peasant bread).