Russian Beef and Cabbage Soup

Russian Beef and Cabbage Soup is a wonderful and easy recipe.... fairly quick to put together... under 10 minutes of prep...a perfect weeknight meal...  one that the whole family will like... surprisingly kids love it too.
I get asked many times ... do you brown the meat first... the answer is no.   You certainly can... but it isn't really how you make it.  I do recommend that you buy the leanest ground beef you can... I never have had grease float to the top of my soup.
Make sure you use the largest soup pot you have... this makes a lot of soup... I'd say about 8 servings... it keeps well... and leftovers are fabulous.. you can also freeze portions.
The recipe lends itself well to cutting it in half if you don't want that much soup.... use the remaining 1/2 a head of cabbage for something else... maybe coleslaw.
My recipe uses cans of either Fire Roasted Garlic Tomatoes by Hunts or they make a roasted garlic tomato sauce (I always have small cans in my pantry... both work really well.. I use one or the other... if I use the sauce.. then I use regular plain petite diced tomatoes by Hunts.
If you don't have either variety of canned tomatoes or tomato sauce... use about 3-4 cloves of garlic and omit the garlic powder.
Did you know... you maybe you never thought about it... garlic powder loses its "umph" after a while?.. so if your supply isn't fairly new... you may have to adjust amounts in recipes.. always use the amount in a recipe.. then taste it and adjust according to your taste.
I used baby carrots, cut into chunks.. you can use regular size carrots if you prefer.
I have been asked whether you can make this in a crock pot... this is one meal I wouldn't recommend it... there is no need to .. the soup cooks fairly quickly on the stove...
I serve this with hearty bread... a truly delicious one-pot meal!

Recipe:  Russian Beef and Cabbage Soup
All you need:
1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef
1 medium size onion, chopped
2 cups baby carrots, cut in chunks
5 teaspoons (or 5 cubes) instant beef bouillon
2 cans Hunts Petite Diced or Fire Roasted Garlic Tomatoes *See TIPS
2 (8 oz.) cans Hunts Tomato Sauce *See TIPS
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup instant rice
1 small-medium head of cabbage, chopped

2 quarts water, divided
All you need to do:
Crumble the ground beef (not browned) into a large soup pot, with the onion, carrots, tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, beef bouillon, salt and pepper.  Add 1 quart of water and mix well.
Bring to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the chopped cabbage, instant rice and the remaining 1 quart of water.  Bring to a boil again and then turn down to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until cabbage is soft.
Serve with crusty bread.

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