Transylvanian Sausage Soup

This soup is rich in flavor and oh-so-easy.  Once you brown the bacon and saute the onion and garlic it can all be thrown in a crock pot or finished in the same pot you used for browning.  Just be sure and use a large pot from the start so there is room for the remaining ingredients.

When working on this recipe I experimented with different brands of bacon thinking perhaps any bacon would do.  But it was not so. I found that cheap or bargain brands do not impart flavor and leave the soup lacking.  Choose a quality or local brand if you can.  Peppered bacon adds a bite if you like a little spice. I prefer to use thick-sliced because it holds up better in the soup.

The unusual ingredients like cinnamon and raisins might seem a bit odd in a soup but don't skip them. They are key to creating the complex flavor profile that makes this soup such a hit!


Ingredients

  • ½ # Bacon 
  • 1 lg. sweet onion; chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic; crushed
  • 2# Cabbage; cut into 1” pieces
  • 1T Smoked Paprika
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 28 oz. Petite dice tomatoes
  • 14 oz. Tomato Sauce
  • 48 oz. Chicken broth
  • 1/2c. golden raisins
  • 3” cinnamon stick
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 pkg. (1#) Kielbasa; sliced

Method
  1. Fry the bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is browned--it doesn't need to be super-crisp.  Add the onion and garlic; sauté until lightly browned.  
  2. Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer on low until cabbage is tender.  Or, place all in a crock pot to simmer.
The soup is even better after being refrigerated and reheated as this allows the flavors to meld.

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