Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup
For as long as I can remember, sweet and sour cabbage soup was one of those things I deliberately ignored on any deli menu I ever encountered, as if it were something to avoid, like the plague or a swarm of locust. I’m not sure why. Just the sound of it–cabbage soup–conjured up (an admittedly strange) image of a gathering of travel-weary Jewish-Poles hunched over a long, communal table, gulping down steaming bowls of boiling (why, why, why boiling?) broth before continuing on their march to flee the onslaught of the Cossacks. This has got to be one of the most ridiculously botched versions of history on record (geo-political, religious, and culinary) and yet, my twisted mind would take me there at the mention of cabbage soup.
Or maybe that was the cabbage soup diet and too many weeks of starvation (as a result of said soup?) Nonetheless, up until this very recipe, let’s just say, I was not a fan of ye olde cabbage soup. And then along came this recipe and I’m embarrassed to tell you–but I don’t even know the source of it. If anyone out there is the author of this gem, please write to me and let me know. Clearly, I owe you a world of gratitude (you may have single handedly spared me from a one-way ticket to the place you sign in to but don’t get to sign out of on your own, if you get my drift) and you’ve certainly opened up my eyes (and my taste buds) to the experience of this delicious, savory, sweet, and perfectly ying-yang balanced soup. It’s just perfect.
- 2 tomatoes (medium, coarsely chopped)
- 1/2 green cabbage (medium, shredded (6-7 cups))
- 1 onion (medium, sliced)
- 1 can stewed tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 5 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar (plus 1 tbsp.)
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup raisins
- pinch nutmeg (very tiny pinch)
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
- parsley for garnish
- In a 6 quart pot, combine tomatoes, onion, cabbage, canned tomatoes and salt. Cover and cook over medium heat (stirring often) for about 8 minutes or until cabbage is very tender.
- Add beef broth, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and raisins, and stir well.
- Add tiny pinch of nutmeg and adjust sweetness or tartness to taste by adding a little more lemon juice or brown sugar if needed (add in small increments of about 1/2 tsp. at a time).
- Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste; garnish with parsley before serving.
- Jodi Luber