Potage au Choux ~1825

Cabbage Soup Recipe.

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Cabbage! In the weeks after St. Patrick’s Day here in the U.S. cabbages are a steal in the grocery stores. They are also abundant at the local farmers market, which is timidly emerging in defiance of winter…

Of course, today’s recipe comes from the by-now infamous French Domestic Cookery for Families of Moderate Fortune (If you missed the prefatory matter, it’s worth reading over a cup of coffee!).

French Domestic Cookery
Compliments of the Library of Congress

Prep. Time: 8 Min.
Cook Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6-8


  • 3 quarts water
  • 8 slices smoked bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 Small Cabbage, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1. Fill large soup pot with about 3 quarts of water

Step 2. Cut up smoked bacon, throw into the pot


Step 3. Cover and boil the heck out of it over medium-low heat. I know what you’re thinking: “2 hours?! That really seems excessive.” Trust me on this one, follow the recipe, just like Colette illustrates:

Step 4. Skim fat off the top. I dredged a few paper towels across the top.

Step 5. Chop and blanch 1 small cabbage. Blanching is easy. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Throw in whatever vegetable you’re blanching. Bring back to a boil for 1 minute. Then remove and drain. Wallah! Blanched cabbage:

Blanched cabbage

Step 6. Add cabbage to bacon broth. Stir around a bit. Add salt to taste (I had to add quite a bit). Add pepper (red pepper flakes or black pepper). Do not need to cook any longer.


Step 7. Serve. Oh my gosh, is this one delicious. It is cabbage in a smokey bacon broth. Yum! The family raved. You could probably substitute salt for soy sauce for more of an Asian flare and I imagine it would be equally as fantastic.


Source: French Domestic Cookery, 1825

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