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I’ve got a thing for soup. Hot soup, cold soup, light miso soup, hearty meaty soup, I’ve even been known to eat soup for breakfast. However, I’m a firm believer that soup should never come out of a can. It’s way too easy to make. Seriously, please don’t be tempted to open up that can of murky, salty broth with gelatinous noodles and uniform cubes of pink meat product and things that are allegedly vegetables. Just make a pot of soup yourself. It’s well worth the extra effort. So here’s how my soup happened. I bought a head of Chinese cabbage and had no idea what to do with it. I’m burnt out on stir fry and I didn’t have ingredients for a good Chinese chicken salad. I actually didn’t even feel like making anything Asian with my cabbage. So I concocted this soup. It’s smoky and hearty and delicious.

 Smoky Cabbage Soup

Olive oil

1 potato, peeled and cubed


2 cloves garlic, minced

½ white or yellow onion, diced

3 strips bacon, chopped

half a bag of frozen peas

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1 tbsp. chicken bouillon

~1 liter water

½ head Chinese cabbage, chopped

green onions

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Get out your biggest pot, or your second biggest if you happen to own an abnormally large pot. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Fry up your potato cubes until they brown just a bit. Add a light sprinkling of salt. Add garlic, onion, and bacon, and cook until the bacon is sort of half cooked. You don’t really want it to get crispy. Add in the half bag of frozen peas. Season with the smoked paprika and cumin. If you don’t have smoke paprika, get some. If you can’t find it in your store, buy it online. It’s wonderful. I’m probably the only college kid who gets a care package from mom that has smoked paprika and a spatula in it. Thanks mom! Add the chicken bouillon and stir that all around. Now add water. I boiled a liter of water in an electric pot while I cooked the veggies and then poured it into the soup, because it’s fast and I didn’t want to wait forever for it to boil the old fashioned way.  Feel free to add more or less water depending on how thick/thin you like your soup. Then add the Chinese cabbage and cook just until the cabbage starts to get tender. It’s really important not to overcook it. Boiled cabbage can be weird. Taste your broth. If it needs more salt or seasoning, take care of that. When you’re satisfied, ladle it into a big bowl and top with chopped green onion and grated Parmesan. Isn’t it lovely?

This soup will take away all of your troubles. Promise.