operagirl came in search of a sweet and sour Russian cabbage soup with tomatoes and beef she loves but doesn’t know how to make. Diane in Bexley’s Hungarian family recipe, not so strangely, fits the bill. If you like, add chopped carrots along with the onions.

3-4 lbs. beef short ribs
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 large cabbage, cut in quarters, cored, and finely sliced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
2 Tbsp. beef base
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
4 quarts cold water

In an 8-quart soup pot, cook short ribs in olive oil until well browned. Remove to a plate. In the same pot, cook onions until lightly caramelized (15-20 minutes). Return meat to pot, and add cabbage and cook until cabbage starts to turn translucent. Add tomatoes, beef base, sugar, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste when finished and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, sugar, or vinegar as necessary. Allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight. Remove any fat that’s solidified on the surface, then remove short ribs and shred or dice meat in small pieces. Return meat to pot and reheat to serve.

This soup improves with age; it can be kept a week in the fridge in storage containers (not in original cooking pot), or frozen for several months.

Diane notes that, if you add beef meatballs made with rice and egg, you get “mock stuffed cabbage”!

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Russian Cabbage Soup

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