Recipe Image

Bavarian Leek & Cabbage Soup

  • 50 m
  • 1 h 10 m
Bruce Aidells
“This hearty German cabbage soup recipe is made healthy with tons of leeks, cabbage, greens, carrot and celery. If you can't find smoked bratwurst or kielbasa, chicken sausage or ham makes a good substitute. ”


    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, halved and thinly sliced (see Tip)
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped carrot
    • 1 cup diced celery
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock (or see Slow-Cooker Stock recipe, below)
    • 1 12-ounce bottle lager
    • 8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
    • 3 cups diced red potatoes
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 cups chopped greens, such as chard or kale
    • 12 ounces smoked bratwurst or kielbasa, cut into ½-inch rounds
    • ¾ teaspoon salt
    • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
    • Ground pepper to taste
    • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream


  • 1 Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, carrot, celery and thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add broth (or stock), lager, cabbage, potatoes and bay leaves; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in greens and sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves. Ladle into bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon sour cream and parsley, if desired.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Clean leeks well to be sure they're grit-free: After slicing, place in a bowl of water and swish around to release any sand or soil trapped between the layers. Scoop the leeks out of the bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving any dirt behind. Drain well. Repeat as needed.
  • Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock: Cut 1 medium carrot, 1 celery stalk and 1 small onion into 1-inch pieces. Combine with 4 pounds skinless chicken leg quarters, 6 sprigs fresh parsley, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 crushed garlic clove and 20 whole peppercorns in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 9 cups water. Cook on High for 4 hours. Strain and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating airtight for up to 1 week or freezing for up to 3 months. Makes: about 10 cups. After straining, this stock has negligible calories, nutrients and sodium.
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