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Russian sour cabbage soup served with sour cream and black bread

Russian Cabbage Soup (Sour Shchi)

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Russian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Cooking The Globe


  • 2 lb. (900g) bone-in beef (I used short ribs; pork ribs or any other bone-in pork can also be used)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion , halved
  • 3 medium potatoes , diced
  • 1 14.5 oz. (400ml) can chopped tomatoes , with juice
  • 4 cloves garlic , chopped
  • a few sprigs dill , chopped
  • a pinch paprika
  • olive oil , for frying
  • 2 medium onions , chopped
  • 1 lb. (450g) sauerkraut
  • salt , to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a few black peppercorns


  • In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts (liters) water. Put the meat into the pot. When the water boils, skim the foam and add the carrots, bay leaves, and 1 onion. Cook for about 1 hour or until the meat comes off the bone easily.
  • When done, remove the carrots, onions, and bay leaves. Add the potatoes and keep cooking on a low heat.
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the canned tomatoes, garlic, dill, and paprika. Set aside.
  • In a skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the chopped onion until softened. Add the canned tomato mixture and mix to combine. Reduce the heat and cook 10 more minutes on a low heat. Transfer the mixture to the pot. Bring to a boil and keep cooking on a low heat.
  • Arrange the sauerkraut on a cutting board and chop a bit. Transfer to the pot and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes. Add some salt if needed, 3 bay leaves, and a few black peppercorns. Cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes.
  • Serve with some chopped dill and a big dollop of sour cream. I like to pick the meat from the bones and discard bones. Enjoy!