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Winter soups need to be hearty, and this Smokey Kielbasa Cabbage Soup fits the bill. I actually made this soup in early spring, when the weather was still trying to make up its mind what season it was, so I had some beautiful fresh fava beans to put into it. As an alternative, you could peel lima beans to create close to the same taste and texture the fava beans provide.
smoked paprika adds a depth of flavor to the soup
Lima beans get a bad rap in my opinion. I think it’s due to the bitterness that’s in the skin. Just as a fava bean is bitter until peeled, so is the lima bean. Both need their thick outer layer of skin peeled to allow the sweet tender center to shine. To peel either, plunge the bean* into some boiling water, for about 2 – 3 minutes, remove to an ice bath (a bowl of water that is iced) to cool and then using a paring knife, remove the skin. It’s not hard, but it is a little time-consuming. If you don’t feel like peeling your lima or fava, then just omit them.
The smoked paprika adds a depth of flavor to the soup, and the optional flour addition makes the broth a bit thicker and more hearty. Again, if you don’t mind a thinner broth, feel free to omit the flour.
*Note: Fava beans need to be double peeled. First taken out of their pod, then taken out of their skin. You can use thawed frozen lima beans as an alternative, which will just need to be taken out of their outer skin.
In a small sauté pan, cook the kielbasa in a small amount of oil until lightly browned. Cut in half laterally, then into 1/4 inch slices. Set-aside.
In a deep pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-low heat; add the onion, carrot, and celery, cover the pot and allow the vegetable to sweat for 5 - 10 minutes, do not brown. Add the flour, if using and stir well. Let cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the chicken broth, water and tomatoes, along with the paprika, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cabbage, fava (or lima beans) and reserved kielbasa; cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until the cabbage is just tender. Add the rice and cook for 5 - 10 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in heated soup bowls.
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