This soup is a perfect example of how, if you learn to use the right spices–that is the key–you can make great soup that cost very little and feeds a bunch.
I had the chance to go down to the farmer’s market. I hadn’t planned to make soup until I realized that I ended up buying a head of cabbage, onions, tomatoes and okra. It was if the soup began to make itself!
First I chopped and sauteed a big onion in a frying pan with butter. Once the onions were glazed, I took them out of the pan and put in a little flour to make a rout. (A rout is like a gravy. The rout gives soup substance and flavor it wouldn’t otherwise have.) Then I filled a big pot about 1/4 full of water. I put it on the burner, added the rout and the onions, some salt, pepper, seasoned salt and garlic powder–not too much, just to get the flavor going, this is a flavor as you taste along the way kind of soup, that’s what I meant by learning to cook with spices, trial and error will teach you what flavors work with what ingredients, that’s how I learned, at least–and put the lid on, letting it simmer.
I chopped the whole head of cabbage, sliced the okra, and chopped the tomatoes. I then decided that my soup needed some meat, mostly for flavor. Bacon! That sounded good. I chopped six or seven slices of bacon into small pieces and added it to the soup, along with the vegetables.
I turned up the heat to medium and let it all cook for about an hour. Then I taste tested the juice. It needed salt, and something else. Mmmmhhh. What was it missing? I had some beef bouillon cubes in the cabinet and decided that this would give it the missing robustness that it needed. I added three or four bouillon cubes to the soup and let it cook for about another half hour and tasted the juice again. YES! It was perfect. Another hour and the vegetables and bacon were done and I had myself a bowl. Wonderful.
I had never made THIS particular soup before but I will definitely make it again. The total cost was $6.00, the money I spent at the farmer’s market and it made a HUGE pot of soup. Everything else I had at home. (TIP: When you are dollar store shopping always check out the spices. They sell them for usually .99 a piece. Start buying one here, another there, and before you know it you will have every kind of spice you will need for any recipe.)
If you liked this recipe, you may also want to try my other recipes: Salmon sauce, German chocolate up side down cake, cold cornbread salad, Mexican cornbread, homemade enchiladas, chicken soup, chicken tortilla, and Mac-n-Cheese.