Introduction: Chicken Soup With Cabbage and Apple

About: Let's skip the pretentious titles. At present, I am a paper pusher. In the remainder of my life, I am a mother of two handsome grown men, a wife to a very patient man, a nana of two precious grandchildren, c…

With the arrival of January, known in the United States as ‘National Soup Month’, I was flipping through recipes, and thought I’d give this one a shot. I’m so glad I did! A hearty, healthy soup that goes a long way!

This soup is not only delicious, but for creative cooks who like to experiment, also provides a springboard for additional ideas. Leave out the sausage, use mushrooms instead. Leave in the sausage, and sneak it under the table to your dog. Add a bit more broth, and toss in some rice. Peel the apples and dice them instead of slice them. Leave out the meat and use vegetable broth for a vegetarian soup. So many ideas come to mind. If you like it on day one, you are going to love it on day two!

The first time I saw the recipe for this soup, I sneered at the thought of cabbage. Memories of cabbage stench wafting from a pressure-cooker through my childhood home has kept this vegetable at an arm’s length most of my life. Pigs in a Blanket, yuck! Back to the recipe, I noticed the inclusion of sausage. Again, not a favorite ingredient of mine, but I pulled the page from a magazine anyway, placing it among the umpteen other ‘might try one day’ recipes I’ve collected over the years. Were we in for a surprise!

Apples in my soup, you ask? I thought the same thing, too, but as I usually do, cooked the recipe as instructed, including the sliced apples, and was pleasantly surprised. I do suggest peeling the apples, the ever-so-sweet taste of Granny Smith survived the soup, and their flavor was enough for a treat on the tongue. The later you wait the add the apples, the more you’ll taste them, but they could easily be confused for potatoes.

For our family, this recipe is a keeper.

Step 1: The Recipe

Courtesy of Cooking Light, 2012

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 ounces chicken apple sausage, sliced

5 cups Chicken Stock, or fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

(Per cup, standard broth has 290 MORE milligrams of sodium)

8 ounces chopped Yukon gold potato

3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)

* SEE STEP 3 *

2 cups sliced Granny Smith apples (peel and dice later, to avoid browning)

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Step 2: ​ a Dutch Oven Discussion

If you do not have a Dutch oven, allow me to talk you into one. It is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy French pot, as there are budget-minded pots available at far less the cost. Dutch ovens are available in standard cast iron, or enameled. Enamel means colors! I’ve seen basic cast iron Dutch ovens from as low as $34.99 to well over $300.00. Determine the size you need before you shop, because you will find they are available in everything from ‘snack before bed’ size to ‘feeding an army’ size. My husband and I do just fine with a 6-quart pot in a pretty purple color, and I was lucky enough to win a 2 quart fennel-colored Le Creuset pot in an Instructables Soup and Stew Contest in 2012. I would never be able to afford such a pot, and am so thankful for it! Thank you, Instructables staff, and members who voted for me!

Special thanks to Clay for his Colossal Chili recipe!

If your Dutch oven comes with little plastic doo-dads that separate the lid from the pot, DO NOT throw these out. See image on this step for detail. They are a fabulous means of protection to keep the enamel from chipping. Take care of your investment, and it will take care of you. If you do not have these dividers, consider using a small kitchen towel to keep the lid and pot protected.

If you are in the market to buy a Dutch oven, here are a few brand names to get started:

Lodge, Le Creuset, Williams Sonoma, Tramontina, Martha Stewart, Calphalon, Heuck, Kitchen Works, wait – I said a few, Range Kleen, BergHOFF, Ruff Hewn, Sandra, Bella, Cooks, Technique, Voss, World Cuisine, Staub Marin, Kenmore, Texsport, Guy Fieri, the list goes on.

Step 3: Bake the Chicken

If you are pressed for time, you can certainly substitute a ready-baked, rotisserie chicken from your local deli. Simply allow for two cups of shredded chicken for this recipe. Otherwise, pour a small amount of olive oil onto a large baking sheet, sprinkle skin-and-bone-free chicken breast with salt and pepper, and bake at 350 degrees, turning over after the first 20 minutes, until meat registers a minimum of 180 degrees.

Allow the chicken to cook just enough to handle, then, using two forks, separate the meat into shreds.

Set the chicken aside.

Step 4: Gather the Ingredients

You may not be able to find chicken apple sausage in your local grocery store, but don’t panic, as you can certainly omit or even substitute a different sausage. It might be best to choose a plain sausage instead of hickory smoke and such.

Yukon Gold potatoes really make a difference in this soup. If you use Russets or something else, the soup taste will definitely be affected. I always get a kick out of online reviews that give poor ratings for a recipe, but then include mention of multiple substitutions. “Well, I used baking soda instead of baking powder, and this cake was horrible.”

Everything in its place. Let’s prep everything so this soup will come together quickly.
In a nutshell, we will be baking, toasting, grinding, measuring, slicing, chopping, peeling and pouring. With that much prep, you’ll want to keep your work area as tidy as possible. By prepping and baking the chicken first, you can do all the rest of the prep while the chicken bakes.

Step 5: Toast and Grind the Spices

In a small saucepan, add 2 teaspoons of caraway and ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds.

Toast over medium heat while moving the pan in a circular and back-and-forth motion.

Remember Jiffy Pop popcorn in the foil pan? Yeah, just like that!

Cook for two minutes, then set the pan aside to cool for a few minutes.

Grind the seeds using a mortar and pestle, or a coffee / spice grinder. In a pinch, use a rolling pin.

Set spices aside.

Don’t forget to wash the grinder, or your next pot of coffee may not be the best part of waking up.

Step 6: Veggies and Other Preparation

Peel and dice 1 ½ cups of onion, ½ cup of carrots, and ½ cup of celery. Peel and dice 3-4 garlic cloves.

Set aside.

Remove any dried or mangled leaves from the head of the cabbage. Wash thoroughly. Remove the core with a knife, or by holding the cabbage in one or both hands, then firmly smack it down onto a counter top in order to release and remove the core.

Using a sharp knife, or a vegetable planer, thinly slice 3 cups of green cabbage.
There will also be prepping of 2 cups of Granny Smith apple, but this can be done later, while the soup is simmering, as you don’t want the apples to turn brown. *See note below*

If you are using mushrooms instead of sausage, go ahead and slice up a cup or two of them.

If you are using sausage, well, you get the idea.

Honestly, with inclusion of the chicken, I really don't see the need for a second meat, but...

Set these ingredients aside.

*Why do sliced apples turn brown, you ask?

Click here for the answer! (answer provided by Scientific American)

Step 7: Measuring and More

If you have already peeled, sliced and diced your vegetables, and measured other ingredients, the rest of the soup will come together very easily. To stay organized and ready to cook, have all of your ingredients measured ahead, such as the vinegar, salt and pepper.

Step 8: Saute the Veggies, Sausage and Spices

Over medium heat, pour the tablespoon of olive oil into a Dutch oven, or other heavy-bottomed stew pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for about 5-6 minutes.

If using sausage (and/or mushrooms), add them now, cooking for one
minute, stirring as it cooks. Sprinkle the spices evenly over the mixture, and stir well.

Step 9: Add Stock and Potatoes

Add chicken stock and potatoes, stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for ten (10) minutes.

Step 10: Add Remaining Ingredients

Remove the lid, keeping in mind that condensation has occurred, so the lid will have extremely hot broth on it.

As you lift the lid, carefully angle it so the hot broth falls back into the pot, and not on your skin.

Be careful, as Dutch oven lids are heavy. Increase the heat to medium-high.

Add the green cabbage, shredded chicken, sliced or diced apples, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Stir well, and allow to cook for three minutes.

Step 11: Simmer and Serve!

Serve with hot rolls, bread, or a nice pumpernickel bread!

This truly is a great soup that I make quite often. I’m almost afraid my husband will say “Stop with the cabbage soup!” at some point, but he loves it, too. It is a great soup that makes excellent leftovers. The flavor is even better on day two. I’ve been meaning to add cooked rice to the soup, but it never lasts long enough. This recipe is a definite keep-and-repeat soup.

Thank you for viewing my Instructable. I hope you’ll consider making this soup, and I really think you’ll like it!

I look forward to your comments, as I would expect many of you to be pleasantly surprised, and pleased about the tastes and textures of this soup.

Step 12: Nutritional Information

Oh, Cooking Light, how I love thee! They provide a healthier version of endless recipes, and even provide nutritional information. You may or may not watch your intake, but for those who do, this information is worth a lot.

Thank you, Cooking Light!

Assumed serving, 1 ½ cups per person. Chances are, you’ll want seconds. Or more.


FAT: 9.8 grams (Saturated – 9.8 g, mono – 3.7 g, poly – 1.2 g.)

(Even less if you omit the sausage)

PROTEIN: 28.5 grams


FIBER: 6.4 grams

CHOLESTEROL: 85 milligrams

IRON: 2.5 milligrams

SODIUM: 369 milligrams

CALCIUM: 94 milligrams