It’s been awhile since I’ve made a cabbage soup and I always meant to tinker with my recipe for Cole Slaw Soup again. The post is regularly in the top 10 hits on the blog. I think just the concept of using Cole slaw in soup is a quick one that deserves some variations. I wanted to use an Italian sausage this time. Cabbage is a good contrast to sausage so adding pickled cabbage (sauerkraut) as well might make this soup really interesting.
I’d made my own chicken broth last time and since I was going to use sausage instead I wondered what kind of broth to base the soup on. I’d read a blog that used pureed sauerkraut in a soup and for the life of me I can’t find it again. But I suppose I don’t need the recipe. I’m just going to puree the sauerkraut for my own recipe anyway. It sounds too cool to not try it. I also would use some of my homemade vegetable broth.
The sausage I chose was a mild one which in Italian terms could still be fairly spicy. Having pureed sauerkraut in it wouldn’t overpower the flavor of the sausage. I browned the sausage in a large nonstick skillet until it was caramelized and brown and even a little crispy. I removed the meat into a bowl and set it aside.
I’d chopped a large onion, some celery and a handful of mini peppers I had on hand. I sautéed them in the skillet in the sausage drippings until the celery and onions were well-softened. I’d decided to puree them with the sauerkraut for a very veggie tasting broth.
The veggies and sauerkraut went into a medium sized soup pot along with 4 cups of the vegetable broth. You could use any vegetable or other flavored broth of choice. I let them come to a bubbling boil then used my immersion blender and pureed them to a smooth liquid. Well mostly smooth, a few pieces refused to puree and that was fine. I added 2 cups of water as the vegetables had made quite a thick broth.
Then I realized I hadn’t added the sauerkraut to the vegetables to puree it. I pureed it separately in my blender. You could puree them both with the immersion blender, the blender, or use both as I did.
With the pot on medium heat I added some sage, some basil, and a bay leaf. I added the sliced carrots and let the soup cook for about 20 minutes. I wanted the carrots to be fork tender eventually, but a little on the al dente side since the soup was going to simmer longer.
When the carrots were still a little firm I added the bag of Cole slaw mix and the sausage, stirred, and let it simmer another 10 minutes.
The cabbage wasn’t crunchy but it wasn’t falling apart limp either. Just right! I taste tested the soup for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t need to add a splash of acid like rice wine vinegar this time as the sauerkraut added plenty of acid.
Ready to eat, I ladled soup into bowls and added a handful of Italian croutons to each bowl. I like crackers in my soup and since I had several bags of croutons waiting to be used, it seemed like a good idea.
The soup was lovely! So much flavor in the broth! The Cole slaw and carrots still had some texture and I liked the spicy sausage in the soup. For a vegetarian twist the sausage could be left out and some extra seasonings added to replicate those that would have been in the sausage.
Cole Slaw Soup with Sauerkraut
1# mild Italian sausage
1 large onion; diced
3 ribs of celery; chopped (I added the celery leaves as well)
1 sweet bell pepper; chopped (I used 8 mini peppers)
15 ounces sauerkraut (I used a canned sauerkraut)
4 cups vegetable broth (chicken or beef would also be fine unless you’re staying vegetarian on the dish)
2 cups water
2 cups sliced carrots
2 teaspoons sage
2 teaspoons basil
1 bay leaf
1 bag shredded Cole slaw mix (about 6 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the Italian sausage in a nonstick skillet until browned and a bit crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
In the sausage dripping sauté the onions, celery and bell pepper until softened, 10-12 minutes.
In a soup pot add the sautéed vegetables, broth, sauerkraut and water. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the vegetables until smooth. A few small pieces are fine.
Add sliced carrots, sage, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a bubbling boil and let cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat. You want the carrots to be a little firm yet.
Add the Cole slaw and sausage to the soup pot and continue to cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. The Cole slaw should still be slightly firm.
Taste test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.