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Bison Cabbage Roll Soup

Cabbage rolls are one of the most beloved comfort foods in the Prairies. With many folks having Ukrainian family roots, a made-with-love-by-somebody’s-baba batch of cabbage rolls is never more than a stone’s throw away. This soup is an ode to the dish but further embraces Prairie ingredients by using ground bison instead of beef, sage, and a little chilli vodka from a famous Saskatoon distillery for a kick.



  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup good Lucky Bastard Horilka (or comparable locally-made chili vodka)
  • 2 lb ground bison
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 398 mL can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups veggie both
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups thinly sliced fermented cabbage
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Hand-torn garlic bread, optional


  1. Heat canola oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until fat starts to release about one minute.
  2. Next, add onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once small brown bits start to form on the bottom of the pot, add splashes of vodka to help deglaze.
  3. Add ground bison and tomato paste to the pot and let the meat cook, stirring occasionally, about four to five minutes.
  4. Add canned tomatoes, broth, water, fermented cabbage, rice and sage. Stir well and let the soup come to a simmer. Once bubbling, reduce to low heat, cover, and cook for 35 minutes.
  5. After 40 minutes, remove the lid and season to taste with salt. Continue to cook for 10 minutes uncovered to allow liquid to reduce slightly and flavours to intermingle further.
  6. Scoop out, top with parsley and serve with warm hand-torn garlic bread. Enjoy!

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