Swedish Cabbage Soup with Meatballs

In New Sweden, Maine, they call this Kol-Soppa och Frikadellar. Whatever you call it, it’s a good hot soup that warms the bones and soothes the soul. This authentic version begins with making soup stock from lamb. However, you can take a shortcut with canned beef stock and have a wonderful soup that’s ready in 30 minutes. For a heartier variation, add 1 cup fine egg noodles 5 minutes before serving. Serve the soup piping hot, accompanied by Swedish rye bread.


2 to 4 pounds lamb stew meat or lamb flank
1 celery stalk, including leaves, cut in chunks
1 carrot, cut in chunks
Salt and whole peppercorns to taste
A few allspice berries
1 large green cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound ground chuck
1 egg
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt (or less)
1/4 teaspoon pepper


In a large saucepan or stockpot, cover the lamb with cold water. Add the celery and carrot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 4 hours, removing any foam that forms at the top. Remove the meat and reserve for hash or some other use. Refrigerate the broth overnight to allow the fat to harden and rise to the surface.

The next day, skim off the fat from the broth. Add salt and peppercorns to taste along with the allspice berries and cabbage. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

To make the meatballs, combine the ground chuck, egg, onion, salt, and pepper. Form into very small balls. Bring the soup to a boil and drop the meatballs one by one into the boiling soup. Cover and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve very hot with Swedish rye bread.

Cooking & Recipes


6 to 8 servings


Lorraine Jepson Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church, New Sweden, M

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