Transilvania’s Cabbage & Smoked Meat Dry Thyme Spiked “Soup”

Today I’m giving you one of the best ‘soups’ from my mom’s repertoire, a delicious cabbage concoction, with smoked meat and thyme. Before I dive into the recipe, please keep in mind that I’ve called it soup for the sake of simplicity, but in fact, it is a Romanian traditional and regional (Transilvania) recipe from the ‘ciorba’ department. It is not a soup. ☺️ 😉

Ingredients to four servings: 1/2 cabbage, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, 1/4 celery root, 1 onion, 1 red pepper, dry thyme, lemon juice from 1/2 lemon or less, fresh dill, 300 g smoked pork meat, 2-2.5 l water, sun flower oil, salt and pepper (optional).
NOTE: you can choose any type of smoked pork meat.
Cookware for this recipe: stock pot + fry pan

STEP 1 – Stock Pot

We are starting off by preparing 2 – 2.5 l water into our stock pot and put it on low heat. This will give us enough time for cutting the 1/2 cabbage, with a knife. Once this is done, we can add it to the warm or even boiling water. It doesn’t matter, as long as it is not cold. The cabbage is now going to be let to cook in peace while we are going to move to step two.


STEP 2 – Fry Pan

Step two is all about pre-cooking our smoked pork meat together with most of our vegetables. But before using our fry pan, we are going to cut and chop the ingredients. Cut your meat into medium pieces and put aside for now. Next, we are going to grate our carrot, parsnip and celery root. Then, we are going to chop the onion and cut the red pepper.

We have prepared all our ingredients for this step. Now it’s time for the actual pre-cooking. We are starting off by heating few drops of oil into our fry pan, add the meat that we have prepared and let it fry for a minute. It only needs to get a bit of crust before we are adding all the other vegetables, first the grated ones and then the onion and red pepper. This mixture is going to cook on low heat until the onion is golden and the carrot is soft. You can add a bit of salt and pepper if you like. And now we are off to step three.


STEP 3 – Back to the stock pot


By now the cabbage had started to soften up, which is just perfect for adding the pre-cooked meat and vegetables. We are going to add all of it and not miss one drop of oil from the pan. Everything needs to get inside the stock pot. Give it a stir and mix everything together. Add the dry thyme. Let everything cook until the cabbage is melting soft.


When it’s done add salt for taste, lemon juice and fresh dill. Pepper is optional.


You can serve it with onion, pickled green hot peppers or just by itself. And then you can have some hot polenta next to it or even home made bread. It works either way. Enjoy!


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