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Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup Related:   Chanukah, Europe, meat, Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat, soup, Sukkot

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

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Beet borscht is undoubtedly the most popular sweet and-sour soup within the Ashkenazi soup canon. But this cabbage-based soup, called krautsuppe in German, is just as delicious. It is traditionally served during the cold winter months when a bright, savory potage is especially comforting.


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds (910 g) flanken or short ribs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large onions, halved through the root and thinly sliced
  • 1 can (28 oz/795 g) diced (chopped) tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (purée)
  • 8 cups (2 liters/2 qt) beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 small cabbage (about 2 lb/910 g), core removed and finely shredded
  • ¼ cup (45 g) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) apple cider vinegar


  • In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Season the flanken on both sides with salt and pepper. Add to the pot and cook, flipping once, until seared on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same pot. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes
  • Return the browned flanken to the pot and add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste (purée), stock and cabbage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer until the vegetables and meat are tender, about 1½ hours. Stir in the brown sugar, vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Take out the flanken and let cool to the touch. Cut the meat off the bones and chop into bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the soup pot. Taste and add a little more salt, if desired. Serve hot.
  • Recipe reprinted from THE JEWISH COOKBOOK by Leah Koenig (Phaidon, 2019).

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