Armenian Cabbage and Potato Stew
If you really want to know the difference between a soup and a stew, this dish will do it for you. A stew is basically a hearty soup, a dish that can be served as a main course. Armenian Cabbage and Potato Stew will stay with you, especially served with noodles and bread. We are so fortunate in Los Angeles to have the very best Armenian bakeries outside of Armenia. Extraordinary Armenian baked goods are available here, including tahini bread, lamajun (a lot like Armenian pizza)), and flat malt bread. That is really all you need for this stew, which is a real marriage of the great flavors of cabbage and potato. Wars have been won on this sort of dish!
ARMENIAN CABBAGE AND POTATO STEW
8 cups homemade vegetable broth*
3 to 4 large Russet potatoes; diced
1 small head of cabbage; chopped
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 medium onion; sliced
3 garlic cloves; chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped parsley (flat or curly)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
*I’m always hesitant to talk about vegetable stock with other cooks. People can be touchy about this subject. I really dislike store-bought stock. Making your own is so simple. I know plenty of people don’t like making their own stock, so if that’s you, I have found one store brand stock that is not awful. Whole Foods 365 Organic Vegetable Stock is tasty. It is a little on the sweet side, so keep that in mind if you use it. Which reminds me, if you are using a store-bought stock, always taste it before you put it in your recipe, so you know how to adjust your seasoning.
Add the olive oil to a Dutch Oven or soup pot and heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until translucent. Add the potatoes, stir, cover, and heat for about 10 minutes. Pour the 8 cups of stock into the pot, add the parsley, thyme, bay leaves, oregano and tomato paste. Stir, cover, and allow to cook for another 10 minutes. Add the chopped cabbage, cover, and cook on a low heat for about an hour. Stir occasionally.
The aroma just makes you think of the fortifying foods we crave on gray days.
Armenians serve this stew with medium or wide egg noodles. Or not! Your choice.