Recipe: Ham and Cabbage Soup

This week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday isn’t a Calabrian recipe, or even an Italian one, but it almost feels Calabrian because of its simplicity. A lot of recipes for this basic soup includes a lot more ingredients (carrots, celery, beets, etc.), but this is the ham and cabbage soup that I grew up on, and it’s delicious.

This is my mom’s recipe (with my adjustment for olive oil instead of butter), and for those of you still experiencing winter, it’s a great cold weather dish. Even P stepped out of his Italian routine to praise this one.

This recipe is easy peasy, so even you novices have no excuse not to try it. You’d have a really hard time screwing it up, I promise. That’s the great thing about soups–you can always add something else to fix it and pretend like it was there the whole time on purpose!

Ham and Cabbage Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter if you roll like that)
1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
500 g (1 lb) of pancetta or ham, cubed/bite-sized chunks
2 liters of water
1 small head of cabbage, washed and shredded (I just tear with my hands, nothing fancy)
6 small to medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tsp salt (to your taste of course)

1. Put olive oil or butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and ham and let saute for a few minutes.

2. Add water and then the cabbage and potatoes, sprinkling in salt.

3. Let simmer on medium until the potatoes are done (or on low, covered), which should be about an hour and a half or thereabouts. Stir every now and again.

That’s it!

Feel free to play with this recipe as there are so many good things you can add. Of course you can make it vegetarian by removing the ham and adding a nice mix of winter veggies. You can also throw in some chunks of tomato for a little bit of color and a more traditional minestrone. The cabbage is the star here, so whatever else you do, you’re good to go.

Of course, if you don’t like cabbage, well, you might want to look for something else to make.

And, as nearly always, served with some chunky bread.

Buon appetito!

7 Beans of Wisdom to “Recipe: Ham and Cabbage Soup”
  1. Paolo

    Of course you can make it vegetarian by removing the ham

    Oh sure, rub it in why don’t ya? Next you’ll tell us we can make vegetarian meatballs by removing the meat…

    I keep mostly vegetarian, but I am jonesing for my mom’s gravy … three kinds of meat, and none of them derived from any kind of bean.

  2. Daren

    I am totally making that for supper tonight. Or maybe even breakfast. God, that looks GOOD!

  3. Soffio di Marmite :)

    Oh man, that looks really tasty. I might have to run and get some meat and make it for dinner tonight. I think the kids would like it. Last night was awful–I tried to fool them into thinking that Spaghetti Squash was Capellini. Uh, they were not fooled. Things were not pretty. Apparently, there is no good substitute for pasta, and my Italian-born son was offended that I would even try to fool him!
    Grazie for the recipe!
    Buona Giornata,

  4. nikinpos

    yum! I’ll try that one after I manage to drag myself to the shops and stock up!

  5. Loulou

    I tagged you for a meme then remembered that you’d already listed 200 things about yourself! Oops!
    Great looking soup. I’ve been making soup every day since getting home from the States.

  6. sognatrice

    Just wanted to add a note to all the people who are finding my blog by searching for ham and cabbage–welcome, and this truly is easy and tasty, so give it a whirl…and if you liked it, come back and let me know please 🙂

  7. 08.12.2008

    I’m always looking for recipes with cabbage in them and this recipe sounds delicious! I have a head of cabbage waiting in my fridge as we speak that I’m going to cook up for this soup tonight only I’m going to make it in my crock pot. I hope my kids enjoy it I Know I will!

    Mangia mangia June 🙂



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