Shchi: Russian Cabbage Soup #Food of the World

“Shchi and kasha are our food.” Is a rough translation of an old Russian saying. Shchi has been part of Russian cuisine since the 9th century when cabbage was introduced to this region.

Shchi is a simple versatile soup which is why it has always been popular. You can make it with any meat or fish, throw in any vegetables you have on hand, as long as you add cabbage to it… it’s Shchi!

I made a light Shchi for Spring. Instead of using a meat broth I used a vegetable broth. I also used fresh mushrooms instead of dried ones which would have made the broth heavier in flavor. In the Winter this soup is made with sauerkraut because fresh cabbage isn’t available. I liked the idea of having a little vinegar flavor in the soup, so I used apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pot between cooking the vegetables and the sausage. 

Sometimes flour is added to the soup for calories. I omitted it too. The result was a satisfying hearty soup, that was just filling enough to make it a meal with a little rustic bread on the side. My entire family enjoyed it and we can see how different meat will keep this soup interesting. 

Shchi: Russian Cabbage Soup

by Diane Balch
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew gluten-free cabbage sausage Russian
Ingredients (4 to 6 servings)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 potato peeled and chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh mushrooms chopped
  • 1/2 of a small head of cabbage chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • garnish: sour cream
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1) Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven on medium-high heat. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery until they begin to wilt. Salt and pepper each vegetable as you add it to the pot.
2) Add the garlic, mushrooms and then cabbage. Cook until they wilt. Stir often.
3) Remove vegetables. Set aside. Turn the burner up to high and add apple cider vinegar. Scrap pan with a metal spatula to get up any vegetable browns. Lower to a simmer. Pour thickened apple cider over vegetables. Stir.
4) Turn the heat back up to medium-high and saute the sausage in 1 tablespoon of butter until it is brown.
5) Add the tomatoes to the sausage. Do not drain the can. Stir until tomatoes start to brown, then add all of the vegetables back into the pan.
6) Pour in vegetable stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream in each bowl of soup and a hearty piece of rye, brown, or whole wheat bread.

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