A simple bag of shredded cabbage started me on a search for recipes that consumed hours I’ll never see again. Did I mention I was at work? It was a slow day and although I had to put my search on hold several times it really did take 4 hours to come to the conclusion I needed to reinvent a cabbage soup. I would call it Cole Slaw Soup.
I’d bought the bag of shredded cabbage and carrots to make an Asian cole slaw for a party buffet the previous weekend. With all of the other cooking and baking, I’d had to abandon the recipe and make a mental note to use it in another way in the coming week. We’d eaten another Asian cole slaw recently and I wasn’t in the mood to make the two of us eat it all week-long again.
Our summer had ended rather abruptly in mid-July and we hadn’t gone above the mid-70s again for over a month. Up North, we have rather short summers, but that was short even for us! We had a nice stretch of soup weather and so the shredded cabbage was fated to become part of a soup. My humorous streak dubbed it “Cole Slaw Soup” because of my original intentions for the cabbage.
Besides the shredded cabbage, which was going to cook fairly quickly, I wanted a bunch of sliced carrots and some diced sweet bell peppers. Maybe a couple of thinly sliced celery ribs. And I definitely wanted to put spinach in the soup. I was trying to eat low-carb and a massive amount of veggies might distract me from missing rice or potatoes or noodles in a soup.
My first thought was to use a beef broth, maybe make my own using some roasted soup bones. I’d just asked my P.S. (Personal Shopper/spouse) to bring some home so I could make a big pot of borscht sometime soon. Our son had asked for the recipe recently, saying he was craving it, and I thought I’d be all motherly and just make a big pot and bring it over to his house. With a printed out recipe for his future use.
So I decided to go with a chicken broth base for my cole slaw soup. I didn’t want to do two beef soups so close together. I’m not much into beef and using it in one soup was going to be enough messing with bloody red bones and stuff.
I picked up a whole chicken on my way home from work and put it into the bigger soup pot and covered it with water. I didn’t add veggies as I’d be putting them in later anyway, to remain in the soup. I let the soup pot come to a boil, turned it down to medium low, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. I had to add water a couple of times to keep the bird underwater. I set my stove timer for 30 minute increments to check on it. I tend to forget to check it and I didn’t want it to cook down too much.
After about 2 hours I removed the chicken and strained the broth into a large bowl. I let it cool and refrigerated it for the next day. When the chicken had cooled I removed all the meat from the bones and refrigerated that as well.
The next day I diced a large onion and sliced up 4 or 5 large carrots. I also thinly sliced up 3 ribs of celery. I had heated a large skillet and drizzled some olive oil into it, then added my chopped veggies. I let them sauté until the carrots lost most of their crunch, then put them all into a large soup kettle.
I skimmed the fat off the top of my chicken broth and added about 2 quarts of broth and about 3 cups of diced chicken and let the soup come to a boil. I reduced the heat to medium low and added some seasonings. I used a teaspoon of dried sage, a bay leaf, a teaspoon of salt and one of pepper. I also put a half teaspoon of basil into it for an interesting twist of flavor.
The soup simmered for about 30 minutes, with the kitchen getting more fragrant as it cooked. I love the smell of soup in the making. Maybe Glade needs a “Vegetable Soup” scented spray? I’d buy it!
After 30 minutes I added my bag of cole slaw to the soup, and let it simmer for about 10 more minutes. I just wanted the cabbage to soften without falling apart. I turned the heat off and taste tested for salt and pepper, adding another ½ teaspoon of salt. I also put in a glug of rice wine vinegar to get an acid in the mix. That always makes the flavors pop more.
I ladled the soup into flat bowls. We loved the flavors in the soup. The blend of spices was excellent and using cabbage always gives a deeper flavor to a chicken broth based soup. There were plenty of carrots to satisfy me. The chicken had cooked when I made the broth so it pretty much shredded when it was returned to the soup pot to cook more. It made the soup look even more like cole slaw, with shredded chicken and shredded cabbage. I was happy with my cole slaw soup!
Cole Slaw Soup
1 stewing chicken, whole
1 large onion
5 large carrots
1 sweet red bell pepper
3 ribs celery
2 quarts chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground sage
½ teaspoon basil
1 bay leaf
1 bag shredded cole slaw mix (or 6 cups shredded cabbage)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Put chicken into a large soup pot and fill with water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for several hours. Remove chicken and allow the chicken and the broth to cool. Strain the broth and refrigerate until used. Remove the chicken from the bones and refrigerate.
Dice the onion and sweet bell pepper; slice the carrots and celery. Add to heated skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and sauté until the carrots begin to soften. Remove from heat and add to a soup pot.
Add the chicken broth (about 2 quarts) and about 3 cups of diced chicken to the pot. Add the salt, pepper, sage, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low and let simmer for 30 minutes. The carrots should be softened but not mushy.
Add the bag of cole slaw mix or cabbage to the pot. Let is simmer for 10 minutes. Add the rice wine vinegar and check for taste, adding salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve hot with a scoop of quinoa or rice if desired.