Venison Sausage Stew

Chef's notes:

Cabbage stew is a bit of an odd duck in the soup and stew world. It’s gotten kind of used to being considered poor people’s food. But cabbage stew, like so many other so-called “poor people’s foods,” is actually quite good. There was, in fact, a time when eating lobster was considered quite “low” and “common,” the quality of a man’s character often being assessed by how frequently he fed his servants the lurid lobster. Other popular poor people’s food includes chicken wings, ham hocks, and tripe. There are many that could be added to this list. I must admit, however, that the addition of meat to this dish may make this the most luxurious cabbage stew ever made.


  • 2 T butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 small cabbage, about 5 cups chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 4 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 T tomato paste or 1 cup fresh tomatoes or ½ cup canned tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of chili pepper (optional)

Green Cabbage and Yukon Gold Potatoes Stewed with Pork Sausage, Tomato and a Bit of Garlic

  1. Cabbage stew usually only takes about three ingredients, but we're doing it with 10. The pork sausage can be just about any type that you can think of. Something with garlic, or even Italian sausage or some form of bratwurst. The potatoes are going to break up and thicken the soup, so use a russet or Yukon gold. The tomato is there to round out the flavor and kick it in the pants, as are the chili peppers if you want to add them.
  2. Saute the cabbage with the onion in butter. Chop up the onion into a medium dice and saute in butter until soft. Then rough-chop the cabbage into 1-inch squares and add to the onion and butter. Sprinkle a little bit of salt over the cabbage and saute until the cabbage is softened. Then add the ½ cup of white wine and stir up the stuff stuck to the bottom. Cook off the wine before moving on to the next step.
  3. Add almost everything else to the pot. First add the sausage and saute it with the cabbage and onions for a little bit. Then add the water, potatoes, tomato, and chili peppers if you’re using them. Cover the pot and place on medium heat. Once it achieves a boil, check it by stirring it a bit. If the boil is too severe, turn down the heat. You want it to gently simmer for the next 2-3 hours so that it can stew properly without cooking off all the water.
  4. Stew the cabbage and meat until done. The stew should be thickening as the potatoes break down. Also, the cabbage should be breaking down a little and giving the stew a sort of consistent thickness. If the stew is still a bit thin, remove the lid and simmer the stew as you stir it to cook off some of the excess water. Once the stew is good to go, taste it and adjust the salt and pepper levels. Serve with a nice crusty bread and a garnish of minced parsley.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use whatever tomato you have on hand. For tomato emergencies, I keep some grape tomatoes in a bag in the freezer. Freezing tomatoes works really well, and when they thaw the skin comes right off.
  • Substitute whatever type of sausage you have on hand.
  • You can use a starchier potato like baby reds, or whatever. They might just take longer to break down. Also, if you really want, you can leave the skin on the potatoes.