southern soups

Regional German food: Pichelsteiner Eintopf from Bayern (Bavaria) is a rustic, filling stew of meat and vegetables. In the first step, beef, pork, and mutton are seared, then vegetables are added, usually potatoes, carrots, parsley, cabbage, and leek. Subsequently, meat broth is poured over and everything is cooked together (some recipes also add onions and garlic).

In Schwaben (Swabia), it’s common to serve the bone marrow the broth was made with along with the finished stew. The creation of the dish has been traced to Auguste Winkler. Originally from Kirchberg im Wald, she worked as an innkeeper in Grattersdorf, where she is also buried. The name is likely to have derived from the nearby Büchelstein mountain, where the annual Büchelsteiner Fest has been celebrated since 1839. As early as 1879, the Open-air-cooking festival was considered a tradition, and because the letter ü is pronounced like i in the local dialect, the dish’s name developed. In Regen, a town in the Bavarian Forest, citizens have met annually since 1874 on Kirchweih Monday to eat Pichelsteiner together, a tradition that is still alive today. They also claim the name’s etymology. In their opinion it derives from the pot in which the stew is cooked, which was called a pichel in the past.

Napa Cabbage and Smoked Sausage Soup

I freestyled this soup on New Years Day as a way to eat my way through all first of the year food superstitions (cabbage, black eyed peas and pork) but regardless of what the old ladies say I’d eat any of these all year long. This soup is perfect for chilly nights and for anyone trying to clean up their diet. It fills you up but doesn’t leave you feeling heavy and of course the vegetables and beans provide lots of helpful nutrients. The sausage, like always, is optional.

I used Napa cabbage because I waited until the last minute and all of the “normal” cabbage had been bought up by January 1. However, the light and delicate leafiness of the Napa really fit the soup well. The turnips and carrots add a subtly sweet vegetal tone and the smoked sausage and beans provide enough heartiness without making the soup feel too full.

1-2 bags of frozen black eyed peas
1 Napa Cabbage, washed, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 turnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp of EVOO
1.5 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock
quart of water or bouillon cubes (see instructions)
2-4 smoked sausages (I used andouille), cut into medallions
Fresh black pepper, salt

Soups are really quite easy. Ready, set,

Step 1: add EVOO, garlic and onion to a large pot on medium-high heat. Stir for 4 minutes or until the onion is translucent-ish. Add water, cabbage, bay leaf, turnips, carrots and peas. Add sausage and stock and let sit on heat, covered for about an hour. If you think soup is watery, add bouillon cubes. Add fresh cracked peppercorns and salt to your taste.

Note: Although I liked the soup immediately, as with most soups and some men, it gets better with age. Make it a day ahead, refrigerate and then reheat on stove.