Sausage, cabbage, potatoes, onions, broth, cream, herbs.
In a heavy soup pot, cook some Island Sausage–lamb or pork, sweet Italian or hot, links or bulk, or Lopez chorizo. When it’s nicely browned, lift it into a bowl to wait while you cook other things in the grease.
Next chop up a big onion and slowly cook it in the grease; add butter or oil if there isn’t enough fat. Cook till transparent and lightly browned–but don’t scorch. Add chopped up green cabbage. Stir, cover, and cook on low just until the cabbage is soft. Cut up half a dozen or more red or yukon gold potatoes into cubes and dump them in the pot.
(No reason you couldn’t chop up things like kale or carrots or turnips or parsnips or leeks too if you have ‘em.) The original was made with largish chunks of vegetables–not dainty bits. Do what you prefer.
Pour in some broth (you can use chicken soup base with water if you don’t have any homemade stock). Add herbs–prob’ly things like parsley, basil, thyme, bay leaf, and plenty of garlic and some pepper which make it seem “Transylvanian.” Simmer a few minutes till the potatoes are cooked but not mushy.
Put the sausage into the soup. If you used “hot” sausage, the soup will come out mildly spicy; if you like spicy, you can add pepper flakes or a chopped hot red pepper (nobody knows if Transylvania is known for heat, but who cares); if you don’t do spicy but like a touch of color, paprika might be nice. Check for salt; sausage is salty so you might not need very much. Simmer just a little more, adding more broth if needed–not too much because cream comes next.
At the end add plenty of half and half or heavy cream. Heat but don’t boil. Freshly chopped parsley is pretty on top.
Serve with crusty bread or toast and plenty of butter–homemade cultured butter made with Twin Brook cream is excellent.
by Phil Harper, Seattle 1999, interpreted by Eleanor Hartmann