Fall is in the air, and its onset was indeed a quick one. We went from high temperatures with atmospheric humidity last week to a drop of thirty degrees, rain and wind this week. I was wearing tank tops last week, but spent this past Sunday bundled up in a heavy coat and blanket, sitting in the rain watching my grandson play football. It was so cold in fact, that I had to light up the fireplace when we got home to warm up! A gentle move into fall would have been so much easier to get used to but thankfully today is sunny and much warmer.
When this recipe posts, I will be back in Umbria in our stone farmhouse. It feels surreal going back in September when we have spent six months over the summer in Umbria for the past ten years, but with our recent move, and an ailing father-in-law, we just felt that we couldn’t be away so long this year. Being in Umbria in the fall is a wonderful time to be there. Wine harvest will be in full swing when we arrive, with the olive harvest soon to follow. There are many food festivals celebrating everything from chestnuts to truffles so there will be lots to do on weekends. I am excited to visit my favorite local farmer’s markets in Italy to buy fresh, locally grown produce that I can take back to my kitchen to prepare some excellent meals.
With the arrival of cooler temperatures, my mind always turns to comforting soups like this one. I grew up on cabbage rolls but seldom make them because they are messy to assemble and take a lot of time to prepare. This soup combines all the goodness of cabbage rolls with a fraction of the effort. I have made this soup twice already, the first time using riced cauliflower in place of the traditional rice used to bind the filling, but found that the cauliflower added a different flavor that just wasn’t what I was after. I left the cauliflower out the next time and did not miss it at all. In fact, the soup reminded me of the cabbage rolls of youth and was even more delicious reheated the second day.
If you do not care if the recipe is low carb, you can add a cup of dried rice along with an extra cup of broth to mimic a typical cabbage roll. I used ground beef in my version only because I had it in my freezer and wanted to use it up before leaving for Italy, but you could use either ground pork or ground turkey if you prefer. I like to serve my soup with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh thyme, but feel free to use any garnish you want. Serve this soup with some crusty whole grain bread and a crisp green salad for a complete meal unless you are on a Keto or Paleo diet, and if so, skip the bread!
I was slow to jump on the Instant Pot bandwagon because I compared it to a slow cooker and I just never had the patience to cook anything for hours at a time. Now that I own one however and realize that the pressure cooker function cooks food even faster than I could using my stovetop or oven while retaining all of its flavor, I am quickly becoming a fan. If you do not have an Instant Pot, you can either use your slow cooker or prepare the soup on the stovetop although the timing of course will be different.
Deborah Mele 2018
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 Pound Ground Beef, Pork, or Turkey (See Notes Above)
- 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
- 4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
- 5 Cups Beef Broth
- 1 (6 Ounce) Can Tomato Paste
- 1 (28 Ounce) Can Crushed or Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Medium Cabbage, Cored & Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
- 2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Thyme
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Sour Cream
- Fresh Chopped Thyme Leaves
- Press the sauté function on the Instant Pot and brown the meat together with the onions.
- Add the garlic, and cook another minute or two.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Make sure that the vent is turned to sealed, and press the Soup button and set the timer to 35 minutes.
- Allow the steam to release naturally for 20 minutes, then release the pressure, and remove the lid.
- Serve the soup in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 503Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 982mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 44g