When I was making what was to become a trainwreck of a sausage and biscuit breakfast, it had one good point. I learned the “hunter’s sausage” made by a local grocer’s meat department was Spicy with a capital S. I was surprised, since they have other sausages labeled “hot” and “mild”. They should have warned us, taste buds may have lost their lives.
But it gave me the idea to use the spicy sausage in a soup recipe I had on my to-do list. It was another Pinterest recipe that got a lot of repins, as I was informed every morning at 1:26 am. Do you get your Pinterest updates? I changed to getting notifications once daily since I get so many repins.
I could set my clock by the ding of my phone announcing the email at 1:26 every morning. I was curious at the number of pins this soup gets! I just had to make the Spicy Cajun Cabbage Soup since it was so popular, and since it required spicy sausage, hunter’s sausage was going to get a new job!
The recipe suggested adding bacon as well, and who doesn’t doesn’t jump at the chance to put some bacon in a dish? I used 4 strips and diced them up fine. I started out by sautéing them in the soup pot so didn’t need the olive oil the recipe suggested. The bacon created plenty of grease. After about 3 or 4 minutes on medium high the bacon was browned a bit around the edges and ready to share the pot with the sausage.
I smashed the sausage over the bottom and let it get good and brown, about 4 minutes of frying. I used my wooden spatula to break the sausage into smaller pieces when it was browned on one side.
I added the diced onion, carrots, and garlic next. I stirred the pot well every minute or two to make sure they were all getting bottom time close to the heat. I added salt and pepper, maybe about 1/2 teaspoon of each. I didn’t want to over salt the soup since the broth adds plenty of salt.
The bay leaf, thyme, parsley, Cajun seasoning and paprika went in next. I let them cook into the meat and veggies, stirring for a minute or two.
Next came the tomatoes and chicken broth. I stirred well and scraped the bottom of the pot to deglaze it. Some of the seasonings and meat had stuck on a bit and now came off easily. They melded into the broth and were excellent flavor boosters for the soup. I love when that happens.
When the pot came to a boil it was time to add the cabbage. The recipe said to shred the cabbage, but the cabbage in the picture didn’t look shredded like cheese does. I used my knife and diced it into very small pieces rather than shred my arm off. It worked well. However you want to get your cabbage into small pieces is probably fine.
I covered the pot and let it simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, then stirred it. I was smelling SO good! I’d decided to serve it over rice instead of egg noodles and had a pot of rice cooking on a back burner. The soup would be ready when the timer for the rice went off.
Ding! The rice was done. I fluffed it with a fork and let it set 5 minutes before putting about a cup or so into each soup bowl. I ladled the soup over the rice and it looked beautiful. If soup can look beautiful. It certainly smelled beautiful!
We had our soup with breadsticks and it was as good as it smelled. The spicy sausage was a bit mellower, being used this way in a soup. The broth was spicy on its own with the Creole seasoning and other spices. It had the depth of flavors of a vegetable soup, but one that had definitely made a trip south to pick up new flavors. We’d give it a 5 on a heat scale of 1-10. We had large bowls and were happy and sated with our soup.
Spicy Cajun Cabbage Soup
4 strips bacon; diced
1 lb. spicy smoked sausage, cut into bit-size pieces or ground
5 cloves of garlic, chopped (I used a generous teaspoon of diced garlic)
1 onion; diced
2 large carrots; diced (about 3 cups)
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon sage
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (my seasoning was called Creole seasoning, which is close enough for me)
2 teaspoons paprika
8 cups chicken stock
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 head of cabbage, cored and shredded
3 cups of steamed rice or egg noodles
In a large stock pot, sauté bacon for several minutes over medium high heat until it is browned around the edges. Add sausage and press down to sear for 3 minutes. This gives you that flavorful brown carmelization that makes the sausage so much better. Add onion, carrots, salt, pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or so until the carrots are getting tender. Stir often as the veggies and meat are all vying for the heat source and need their time on the bottom.
Add thyme, parsley, sage, Cajun seasoning, and paprika. Let them cook into the ingredient for a couple of minutes, then add the stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and add cabbage. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender.
Taste test, adding more salt, pepper or seasonings as desired.
Serve over steamed rice or egg noodles.
Adapted from The Dabble