Friday, December 9, 2011

Ham and Cabbage Soup

A simple soup made from a chicken broth base, with leftover baked ham, bacon, a ham hock and cabbage.

Ham and Cabbage Soup

Soon as southern fall and winter weather fluctuates from flip-flops back to jackets, I instantly want a good warming soup and I love experimenting with different combinations. This one came about from having some leftover holiday ham and cabbage that I needed to use up, and knowing I had a frozen ham hock I could use to flavor the soup base. I don't bake a whole ham very often, though I really don't know why, but ham hocks make such a great flavoring stand-in for a ham bone for soups and beans, that they really should be a freezer staple. They certainly are for me!

There is nothing at all unusual or unique to me about this soup - in fact, with some slight variation in the ingredients, it's pretty common, but it's a nice tasty soup for those of us who enjoy cabbage. Hey - y'all know it must be okay when I can get The Cajun to eat cabbage, and he gobbled down three large bowls of it.

I started with a little bacon for the smokey flavor, added a mirepoix of veggies, a quart of chicken stock and an equal amount of water, threw in a slashed ham hock, and let that simmer for an hour. You can go a little shorter if you have to, but unless you're in a hurry, let it simmer for a full hour to extract all the flavor out of that ham hock. The ham hock flavored this up nicely, so an all water base would probably be fine here too.

After the ham hock has simmered, add in some chopped potatoes, thickly shredded cabbage and seasonings, cover and let it low simmer for another 20 minutes or until the cabbage and potatoes are tender. I decided to chop the potatoes a little more chunky than a dice for this soup, but if you dice yours, be sure to factor that in the time so you don't end up with potato mush. Core and cut the cabbage up into quarters before thickly slicing it to make it more bite-sized. Add a little thyme in at the end, taste and adjust seasonings and serve. This is a very nice soup that I think you'll enjoy. Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Ham and Cabbage Soup

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour 20 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of chopped ham
  • 1 medium ham hock
  • 1 quart of chicken stock or broth
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/2 tablespoon of chicken base (like Better Than Bouillon)
  • 3 cups of peeled, chopped potatoes (not diced)
  • 4 cups of thickly shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme

Add the bacon to a Dutch oven or large heavy pot and cook until fat is rendered. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and ham. Slash the ham hock lightly with a knife and add that; pour in the chicken stock and water. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce and simmer for 1 hour if possible; 30 minutes at minimum.

Stir in the chicken base, potatoes, cabbage, salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the thyme; taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Cook's Notes: I used Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock which is an excellent commercial stock product. You can also simply use 2 quarts of water if you prefer, however, let the ham hock simmer for the full hour if you do. Can also increase the amount of cabbage if you like, and substitute or add in some sliced, smoked sausage browned in a bit of olive oil, for the bacon if you prefer. Substitute or add in a can of white beans for the potatoes.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on December 9, 2011

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  1. I make this! We call it Cabbage and Potato soup. Served with cat head biscuits. YUUUUUUMMMMMMMMM!

  2. I was just wondering how to use up the thanksgiving ham and here is an excellent recipe. I'm definitely making it this weekend. Thanks. You have a great blog...and still waiting for the cookbook to come out ;)

  3. Good stuff huh grouchy!

    Thanks Califia! Maybe some day... enjoy the soup!

  4. This sounds so good I can almost smell it cooking. Thanks!

  5. You know...I don't think I've ever made a ham cabbage soup. I usually do a chicken cabbage. Have to give this a try.

  6. Mary this is perfect for the cold weather we are having!

  7. Loving your blog, I am your newest follower. Nice to meet you.

  8. I love everything in this soup...I'll bet it's wonderful :)

  9. I'm like you, one of the things that I like best about having a ham is getting to use the ham bone for soup later.

  10. Delicious recipe! It's make me hungry :) Thanks a lot for sharing. I will try this soon.

  11. I make this too! Growing up my Mother made this, was always a favorite of mine. We call it boiled dinner.

  12. OMG!!!! Made this soup two days ago. I'm not much one to comment on things, but this is so amazingly good I'm breaking my lurking streak. Fabulous site, too. I grew up in the South with Yankee parents; now I FINALLY know how to make all of the scrumptious dishes I fell in love with at my friends' family dinners. Thank you SO much.

  13. Oh thank you SO much for taking the time to come back and let me know you enjoyed the soup!! That means the world to me. I hope that you continue to enjoy the recipes here - happy holidays!!

  14. Oh my gosh, I just had my first mug of this soup, and it's just delicious. I doubled the bacon and cooked it until crisp, then sopped up 2/3rds of the grease with a paper towel. After the cooking of the broth I strained the veggies and chilled them and the broth overnight (so I could easily skim off the grease). The soup is light and hearty at the same time (I had cornbread with it) and the blended flavors are perfect. Thanks for this recipe. It's a keeper, for sure.

    1. Thanks so much Pam! I really appreciate you taking the time to come back to comment and let me know you enjoyed it!!

  15. We are a big lovers of soup in the winter. In fact my wife and I were just talking about some new soups to try to get out of our same ol' rut. This absolutely looks like it fits the bill. Thank you. I think you and my wife must be on the same wavelength.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment - I hope y'all enjoy it!

  16. I made this today, and it was wonderfulmous on this dreary rainy day. Used up some of my left-over ham and pretty much kept to your recipe. Will make again. Thanks so much for the time you take to share your recipes with us.

    1. You're welcome Kat & thank you for stopping back by to let me know you enjoyed it!

  17. This was delicious! I used the ham bone from our Thanksgiving ham, and used two quarts of stock instead of water. It was the perfect soup for a cold night tonight. :-)

    1. Thanks Anjea! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed the soup. We're just now starting to get cold weather move in, can you believe it? Supposed to be in the mid 40s tomorrow, so not too cold but at least the muggy and warm is gone for a few days!

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  19. This was delicious. I made this soup a few days ago and just finished making another pot today! My family and I love it! The perfect soup for a cold day! The only change that I made was I added a few more potatoes! ! Thanks Mary, you are the best!


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