Saturday, March 28, 2009

Test Kitchen: Cabbage, Kielbasa and Rice Soup

You might be surprised to hear that I only subscribe to one food magazine. And it’s not because I think it’s the greatest. It’s just I have little time to read various magazines every month, so I limit my subscription to just the consumer standard Food and Wine.

I admit I like to flip through Food and Wine mostly for the pretty pictures. Their overall design is contemporary and easy-to-read. And over the years, I’ve clipped out many interesting-looking recipes but rarely do I ever try them. Until now.

I’m going to start this new monthly feature called “Test Kitchen” where I’m going to pick a recipe from my Food and Wine magazine and make it, then give you my thoughts on how easy it was to make and more importantly, how it tasted.

From my current April edition of the magazine, I’m actually kicking off with a fairly easy recipe. In fact, it’s from the Tasting and Testing section of the magazine. This Cabbage, Kielbasa and Rice Soup sounded interesting because I like soup with grains in them but never really made them myself since I’ve mostly made pureed soups.

You can find the complete recipe here at the Food and Wine site. And here’s how it turned out. How do you think my soup below compares to the Food and Wine photo above?

My tips and warnings about the recipe:

  1. The recipe doesn’t clearly state it, but you should buy pre-cooked kielbasa sausage. It makes a difference in cooking time. (The recipe had a short cooking time so I knew it probably called for the pre-cooked version.)
  2. The recipe makes four servings. If you don’t plan to eat it all in one sitting, I would recommend keeping the rice separate and adding it in to the portion size you plan on eating right before serving. If left sitting in the soup, the rice will absorb the broth and get really mushy.
  3. I cheated and used my rice cooker to make my basmati rice. I’m sure that’s allowed.

Ease of cooking: This is a really simple soup to make, and can be a quick last-minute dish to make for a weeknight dinner, served with a small salad or some toasted bread. I like these types of recipes that don’t call for any unusual ingredients or very many of them.

Taste: This seemed like a healthy approach to eating as well because the recipe called for low-sodium chicken broth. But I have to say, it really lacked flavor and body, even when adding the sausage. I felt like it would have been better and more substantive if I added some white beans, for example.

Overall Grade: B-

If you’re also a Food and Wine subscriber, email me your vote on which recipes I should try each month. You can start with the May edition when you get it at home soon.


Carroll said...

I've made enough soup in my time to know just what you mean about it being kinda watery and lacking in flavor. My guess is that you could tweak it by either using an immersion blender to incorporate some of the rice into the broth which would thicken the whole thing a bit, and also maybe add some garlic at the end of the sauteeing process to pump up the flavor from the get-go? Sometimes garlic and cabbage isn't such a good combo, but in this case, I think it might help.

foodhoe said...

well chef ben, I'd say they use unsharp mask filter and do more photoshop on their photo... based on the ingredients, it doesn't sound like an exhilarating mix of flavors, but then I'm not a big cabbage soup fan. Fresh chopped herbs can do wonders to perk up a blah tasting dish.

Mrs. L said...

I book mark recipes from my F&W all the time and never get a chance to try them. Can't wait to have you do it for me :)