Side Pork Cabbage Soup

Minnesota winters require a good soup. They not only warm, but they nourish our bodies too. What is your favorite soup? Do you even like soup? Me? I love soup, but I have to convince my boys. They’re not so easily won. As long as it’s a good cream soup, they’ll devour it though. IMG_2710I tried this one on them the other night and they really enjoyed the smell of the sesame oil. I’ve found that many good side pork recipes have sesame oil in them.

My love for cabbage soup started with The Joy of Cooking after receiving the book as a wedding present. Basic cookbooks like that and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook are a great place to start when learning to cook and bake. You’ll learn the basics, what you like and don’t like, and then be able to expand from there. I like to learn as I do things, but maybe you like all the knowledge before you jump in. If so, I’d recommend finding a chef you really enjoy and watching his/her videos on youtube.com or from the library. You can gain some excellent knowledge this way.

With recipes, I often get ideas online and then just make up my own way to do it according to the skills I’ve learned along the way. Most recipes don’t have you sear the meats and veggies or grill them before adding to soup or slow cooker recipes, but I’ve found this to enhance the texture and flavors so much I almost always do it unless I forgot to take it out the night before and it’s still frozen.

The nice thing about side pork is that it’s typically a smaller portioned package and so it will thaw within the day. That and soups don’t take a whole lot of time if you have all the ingredients available in your pantry or freezer. I love modern technology and don’t know where I’d be without a fridge and freezer. Also, buying in bulk (especially meats like half a hog, frozen whole chickens or a quarter beef) ensures I don’t have to go to the grocery store more than once a month except for milk or fruits, saving me a lot of time, energy and money from impulse buys.

Now this soup may not be for everyone. I’ve found many just don’t crave the rich fat that accompanies side pork. Many of us crave carbs. This is not a high-carb soup, in fact this would be considered more of a keto or paleo soup in modern diet language. Perfect for low-carbohydrate diets, pastured side pork gives high quality fats that our bodies need to thrive. From previous blog posts you may remember it’s a great source of natural vitamin D.

I hope you like soup because here’s my first side pork installment. I hope to have many more in the coming months, so tell me your favorite things to do with side pork and your favorite soups too. I’m also looking for excellent ideas for beef! We also have 3 and 3/4 beef available still this fall, so share! What are your favorite beef and pork recipes?

Enough from me. Now go enjoy some soup on these cold winter nights!

Side Pork Cabbage Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb. side pork a.k.a. pork belly
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon + Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon + garlic, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon + granulated
  • 5 cups or more chicken stock/broth
  • 1 small head of cabbage or 2-3 bok choy
  • 1-2 Tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • optional excellent veggies: 1-2 leeks, chopped; 3-5 carrots, long sliced; 3-4 Tablespoons of tomato paste for a more minestrone-type taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan or cast iron skillet on medium heat. Pour 1 – 2 Tablespoons of olive oil or lard into heated pan and spread evenly. Place chopped onion and any other veggies (such as leeks and carrots) into pan to sauté for about 5-7 minutes until onions are “clear” rather than white all the way through. Place sautéd veggies into an unheated stockpot that you will finish the soup in.

In the saucepan, heat the pork belly until browned, about 7 minutes. Place pork belly into stockpot. Add five spice powder and garlic to stockpot.

Pour one – two cups of chicken stock into saucepan to get all the good veggie and pork juices into the liquid, about two minutes. Pour this liquid into the unheated stockpot with the remaining chicken stock and heat all to boiling.

Once boiling, turn heat to medium-low and add the cabbage. Cook until cabbage is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat, let cool for five to ten minutes and then add sesame oil.

Enjoy!

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