Summer is the easiest time for me to watch my weight. Fresh produce is abundant and I look forward to my weekly trip to the local farmer's market like some women go bonkers over their weekly pilgramage to Bloomingdales. While many of the vendors have admitted that the produce has been slow coming off the fields this year, I did manage to score a very nice head of cabbage last Saturday, along with some moderately sized peppers and zucchini. Hubby will eat cabbage in any way, shape or form but his favorite takes the form of the very time consuming cabbage roll. I was also painting furniture yesterday, so he got this deconstructed version of cabbage rolls in soup form.
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (I used Laura's Lean, 96/4)
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used part of a yellow one and a pablano)
1 stalk celery with leaves, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/4- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on your love of spiciness
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 cup pearl barley (NOT the quick cooking kind)
6 cups chicken broth
8 cups shredded cabbage (about 1/2 of a large head)
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 packets of Splenda
V-8 or tomato juice to thin soup if desired
In large soup pot brown ground beef with the onion, pepper, celery, carrot and pepper flakes until meat is cooked through and onions are translucent. Add garlic, paprika and coriander and saute for another minute or two. Add chicken broth and rinsed barley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Add cabbage, season with salt and pepper, stir well, and cover. Cook until cabbage wilts and cooks down a bit, then add tomato sauce, tomatoes and Splenda. Bring to a boil and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. Add V-8 or tomato juice to thin soup if desired.
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