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Here in Wisconsin, we’re heading into the coldest, most snowy part of the year.  When the locals aren’t participating in wintertime outdoor activities like ice fishing, skiing, or snowmobiling, we’re inside warming up and enjoying home-cooked comfort foods and the good company of friends and family.

This recipe from the Nueske family is just the sort of hearty, savory soup that always makes you want seconds but doesn’t always leave you with room for more.  You can see many German and Wisconsin touches in this soup from the cheddar cheese, leeks, & cabbage and the surprising addition of bright, fresh lemon zest.

This soup will take you about thirty minutes to prep and about 45 minutes to cook.  We would say that it serves 6-8 people, but that really depends on how big your bowls and appetites are.

Nueske's Applewood Smoked Ham & Cabbage Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Ham & Cabbage Soup with Cheddar Dumplings

Here’s what you need:

¼ C. olive oil
4 C. Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Ham, cubed
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 C. onion, thinly sliced
2 leeks, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. flour
2 C. chicken broth
6 C. ham broth
3 C. potatoes, cubed
½ of a savoy cabbage, shredded
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Cheddar Dumplings
2 Tbsp. cold butter
2 C. self-rising flour
2 oz. cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ C. cold water
2 tsp. lemon zest, fresh grated

Heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large pan.  Add the ham and brown sugar and sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Remove the ham and set aside.  Add the remaining oil to the pan along with the onion, leek, and garlic.  Sauté until the onion is soft and lightly browned.  Add flour and continue to cook for 1 minute.

Gradually add both kinds of broth and then add the potatoes and cook until they are tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.  Add the ham, cabbage, and vinegar and simmer for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the dumplings.

To make the dumplings, cut the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry knife until the mixture becomes crumbly.  Mix in the cheese and thyme and begin slowly adding a little bit of the water at a time until the mixture begins binding together and forming small balls of dough.  Place these little dumpling balls into the soup and simmer, covered, for about 8-10 minutes.

Serve hot soup in bowls with a light sprinkling of lemon zest over the top.

Enjoy Winter!