Arthur Schwartz's Russian Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

By • December 5, 2012 9 Comments

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Author Notes: Adapted very slightly from thefoodmaven.comNicholas Day

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 pounds flanken or short ribs  
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large Bermuda onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 2 to 3 pounds ripe tomatoes (3 to 5 large), cored and cut into wedges (or one 28- or 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes)
  • 2 pounds cabbage, cored and shredded (about 10 cups)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice or white wine vinegar or 1 teaspoon fine sour salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds potatoes (4 to 6 large), boiled and peeled
  • Snipped fresh dill (optional)?
  1. Sprinkle the meat on all sides with salt, then place it in a heavy, 8-quart pot. Place over medium-high heat and sear until browned on both sides, turning several times. Remove and set aside on a plate.
  2. Immediately add the oil and the sliced onion. Saute for 5 minutes, until onions are wilted.
  3. Add the tomato wedges and stir with the onions for 2 or 3 minutes, until the tomato juices start bubbling.
  4. Add half the cabbage. Place the meat on the cabbage, then top with the remaining cabbage. Add water, salt, pepper and sugar. Cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower heat and simmer, covered, very gently, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is so tender it practically falls apart when prodded with a fork.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adjusting with additional salt, pepper, sugar or lemon juice, as desired.
  7. Refrigerate the soup overnight, then skim off the hardened fat. Strip the meat into large pieces, discarding bones. Return the meat to the soup. Reheat the soup.
  8. Serve piping hot in a deep bowl with a boiled potato on the side, or serve in a flat bowl with quarters or chunks of potato in the bowl with the soup. Sprinkle with dill only if you are one of those cooks who feel compelled to garnish; the mahogany colored soup is beautiful as is.
  9. Advance Preparation: The soup is much better if made a day ahead and reheated. It also freezes very well. In either case, however, it's flavor will require refreshening. Taste carefully for salt, pepper and lemon juice.

More Great Recipes: Beef & Veal|Vegetables|Stews|Cabbage|Plums

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Comments (9) Questions (0)


12 months ago ENTJ - I

I'm from Russia and never heard of sweet soup being a popular dish or considered a part of national cuisine. It's only the cabbage part, I guess.


11 months ago Sharon Michalove

It's Jewish cooking, which has a lot of sweet and sour recipes, but it is close to Shchi.


over 1 year ago LeeLeeBee

We loved this recipe, although we preferred it on the sour end and reduced the sugar to three tablespoons.


over 1 year ago beejay45

Love this, but I think I'd swap in red cabbage because I like it and usually have some on hand. Love the sweet and sour! Thanks.


over 2 years ago jenindc

This is a fantastic winter dinner!


over 2 years ago rosalind5

We had this tonight and it was delicious (thank you!); as promised, my three year old loved it. My only quibble with the recipe as written is that the dill is a lovely, fresh addition to the soup, not to be missed in my opinion.


over 2 years ago Robert Peterlin

This appears to be a modernized traditional stew/soup ... thank you for the submission; I cannot wait to try this out. Gotta find a heart healty replacement for the ribs, this would probably taste great with a real oily (strong flavored) fish!


over 2 years ago PassTheKnife

Looks great. I'm going to use this recipe to baptize my new slow cooker. A quick question, first: In my experience short ribs always taste best after 5 or 6 hours of cooking - if I want to cook the meat that long, should I put off adding the tomatoes and cabbage until the last couple hours of cooking?


over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh, goodness! How perfect for these cold, rainy winter days. Definitely on the must-make list here. ;o)