|Evelyn at Billy's from Chowhound.com|
The lack of impact shouldn't have been a surprise..there's little in the mixture with real flavor! The only seasoning is 3/4 teaspoon each Kosher salt and pepper and 3/8 teaspoon of nutmeg for flavoring a head of cabbage, 7 cups of broth and a pound of meat. The 5 tablespoons of parsley added too much vegetative flavor for the bland soup; it stuck out of the blend like a sore thumb. Maybe if it was called Flat Leaf Parsley Soup with Savoy Cabbage and Meatballs....
"Tiny Meatballs" should also have set off a warning bell. Too much restraint!!!
The choice of leeks for the soup is odd to me. Leeks are notoriously gritty. Rinsing well, after halving, as the recipe suggests, is not enough. The best way to clean leeks thoroughly is to chop them up or in this case, slice into half-moons and then put them in a colander and rinse well. They're relatively expensive and in this kind of mixture are too mild. They were lost in the watery soup. A good brown onion would have added some substance to the flavor; cost 1/2 or less the price of the leeks with no cleaning challenges. Fiddling with the leeks added time to the prep with no return on the investment.
It did take me an hour to get it together (as the recipe estimates), not counting clean-up time.
The soup needed canned tomatoes, garlic, more salt, more pepper and a couple of shakes of Tabasco, at the very least. Vinegar would have helped but you'd have to eliminate the final swirl of cream. We sprinkled vinegar into our bowls to add some interest to the flavor. It helped but just barely. Next time I get the urge for Cabbage soup, I'm sticking to the tried and true Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup.
The recipe could be re-written to be much more efficient in my opinion. My suggestion is to start with the soup ingredients and while they are simmering, work on the meatballs. Salt, pepper, nutmeg should be mixed with the milk and then combined with the bread crumbs. You always mix small particulate materials in any liquid you have to assure even distribution through a mixture. Throwing 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg on top of a pound of a meat and expecting evenly mixed flavor is ridiculous.
The recipe seemed frankly amateurish - even for Sunset.
It's likely the nutrition declaration was the driving force behind the recipe creation. Keeping the sodium low is admirable, but not at the expense of flavor.
I copied the recipe below from www.epicurious for the sake of convenience. Sorry about the formatting. Authorship goes to Sunset Magazine.