My mother used to make this soup. I have vivid memories of coming home from school, walking into the kitchen and the heavenly scent of this soup, wafting through the room…really, through the whole house! It’s such an autumn or winter soup. It just tastes nourishing. Now, she usually added some sauerkraut, which I love, but The Latin Lover, he’s not a fan! Crazy, huh? So, I don’t add it, but you certainly can. I’m making a more vegetable version here (except for the bacon) and you can make a completely vegetarian version, by simply omitting the bacon and using olive oil instead, but the bacon is…well, it’s bacon. And it’s delicious.
This is more or less what she made. But, sometimes she diced up leftover pork roast, kielbasa or even hot dogs. Sometimes she’d add barley, and I must say, I really like that addition, but today, I’m not using barley. And my father really liked it when she added tomatoes…he was a big fan of tomatoes in all their forms. Much of the time, she added some heavy cream. On a farm, you use a lot of cream, because, well, you have it. And it’s good. It is truly a wonderful addition, but I’m leaving it out today.
This is a brothy soup, but if you want it thicker, thicken it with a cornstarch slurry. This is a simple soup/chowder. I’m going with the “picture is worth a 1000 words” view and just give you the pictures.
The amounts I’ve given you are “flexible”, so make it your own. By the way, this is even better every time you reheat it. Soup is like that, isn’t it?
Farmhouse Cabbage, Potato and Bacon Chowder
- 6 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
- 1/4 head cabbage, core removed and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried mushrooms
- 4-5 cups stock, divided
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- Cornstarch slurry (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the bacon, to a heavy-bottomed saucepan, set over medium-low heat; fry until crisp. Remove the bacon to paper toweling to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat.
Add the cabbage, onion and garlic to the fat. Lower the heat, cover and sweat the veggies until tender, about 10 minutes. The cabbage should be soft. Add the dried mushrooms and 2 cups of the stock. Bring to a simmer; remove from the heat and let stand for 20-30 minutes to allow the mushrooms to reconstitute. Return to the heat; add an additional 2 cups of stock, potatoes and carrots. Simmer very slowly for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender. If you feel you need more broth, add it now, along with a tablespoon or two of the cornstarch slurry. This will depend on how thick you want the soup to be.
Add salt and pepper; simmer for 5 minutes. Serve in heated bowls, topped with some of the reserved bacon and a wedge of good, crusty bread.
Farmhouse Cabbage, Potato and Bacon Chowder Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2021. All rights reserved.