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Russian Cabbage Soup

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 October 2012 at 08:13

Every culture in eastern Europe seems to have its own take on cabbage soup. Indeed, within each country there are variations on the theme.

This one, with origins in Russia, is a hearty, stick to your ribs soup, almost stew-like. Great for those chilled-to-the-bone days that are coming up.

Russian Cabbage Soup

2 lb beef brisket, in ½” cubes
¼ cup diced bacon
2 cups onion, sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
6-8 cups beef and/or chicken stock
1 can tomatoes
2 medium potatoes, in ½ cubes
1 head cabbage, shredded
½ cup raisins
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté bacon until slightly browned. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until onion turns translucent. Add the brisket and brown on all sides. Add the stock and tomatoes.

Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until meat is just tender (about 45 minutes). Add potatoes and cook until tender (about 30 minutes more)

Add the cabbage, raisins, sugar and vinegar. Cook until cabbage is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust flavor with additional sugar or vinegar as needed

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 08:29
Brook, 
 
Wow ... Thanks for posting your phenomenal Russian Cabbage Soup Stew ... I really like the sweet touch too, the brown sugar and the raisins ... .
 
Truly fab recipe and shall definitely prepare it, once it is colder here.
 
Kind regards.
Margi.  
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 09:16
outstanding, brook - i would indeed be happy to try this one.
 
brisket being the trendy, yuppie, expensive cut of meat that it is these days, i might have to substitute, but i'm guessing there's a certain amount of latitude there, as there usually is in these wonderful peasant foods.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 10:02
Absolutely, Ron. Try with any "cheap" cut (is there such a thing, anymore?). Bottom round would work wonderfully.
 
While it's true what you say about brisket, the deckle end often goes on sale around here. When it does I stock up for making things like this soup.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2012 at 10:12
the deckle end, if i recall, is what we call the the "point" end of the brisket ~ also great for making pastrami!
 
will have to raid the freezer and see what beef is there.... i've got some kielbasa-type sausage, and i am willing to bet this would be good with that, as well. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 September 2013 at 14:50
I made this on Sunday with absolutely delicious results ~ a couple of substitutions were necessary, due to what I had available, but the base recipe is GOLDEN and I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone looking to dine on delicious, satisfying peasant food where nearly every ingredient can be found on the farm or (with only a couple of exceptions) fresh from the garden.
 
With this preparation - which amounted to nearly a double batch, we used kielbasa rather than brisket, mostly for economic reasons. Also, I thought I had celery, but it turned out that I didn't; I can only imagine how much better this would have been with some celery. We also used garden-fresh tomatoes rather than canned - with absolutely wonderful results - but just imagine how good this would have been if ALL of the produce had been fresh from the garden!
 
The raisins, brown sugar and cider vinegar might seem a little unusual for a savory dish such as this, but have some faith - really! they provided sweet and sour accents that really brought out the flavours of the vegetables - they also complimented the pork sausage very well and judging frmo my experience with brisket, would do much the same for that cut.
 
I am a huge fan and big believer of this dish, and am sure that anyone who tries it will most assuredly enjoy it. The next time we make it, I will do a pictorial, and if I am unable to use brisket, I will at the very least endeavour to use chuck or some other similar beef.....or perhaps venison ~
 
Many thanks, Brook - this one is a winner!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 September 2013 at 20:30
Nothing wrong with substitutions, Ron. This is, after all, basic peasant food and you use what's available.

Hard to believe it's a low-end dish, right? But keep in mind the recipe actually dates back to when brisket was one of the cheap cuts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 September 2013 at 23:09
Thats a great looking soup there Brook. I have taken note for next rugby season - it will be perfect for the boys after-match function...
Which got me thinking about economy...

I could just use marrow bones and trimmings to make the stock. Whilst being lucky enough to have all my beef bones returned to me for just that purpose,  I see them in the pet aisle at the supermarket and think what a waste! Cracked roasted marrow bones boiled for stock are delicious and cheap!
Of course the result would not have the meaty bulk that you are creating but the flavour would be there and with the inclusion of a bacon bone?

I also did some reading because I am partial to Russian peasant food and discovered an interesting ingredient in the recipe for Shchi in the Time-Life book on Russian cookery.

Parsley root.

Clearly whist related to Parsnip, its another ingredient altogether. Who can tell me more?

I'm curious.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2013 at 04:03
It is, indeed, the same plant, Anne.

Parsley is a biennial, and the roots are harvested the second year. They look like miniature parsnips.

Parsnip roots bring a more intense flavor to a dish than the tops, in the same way that celeriac is more intense than regular celery.

I wish bones of any kind were cheap here. Cheap, hell. I just wish they were available. Most shops no longer carry them at all, because they don't have butchers. Instead, the meat is pre-processed and shipped to the stores that way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2013 at 04:46
Parsley roots are a key ingredient in Hungarian chicken soup as I know it. They aren't really sweet like parsnips and their texture isn't nearly as pleasant. In my mind it's a flavoring agent and not something that you might steam and serve as a side vegetable. It's flavors are strong and although it does taste like parsley it is more complex than that. Hard to describe by me beyond that it tastes like parsley root.  Although I'm sure there are plenty of ways to use it, soups and stews is where it shines I think. If you find some you can dehydrate the extras and store them in an air tight jar in a cool dark place. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2013 at 15:50
Well, well.
I have eyed up those big tap-roots when I have pulled up old seeded parsley plants in the past, but not known that they could be used. This years roots will not be going into the compost. I have made a note in my Garden Diary for next March.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2013 at 16:11
Rod, I didn't mean to imply that parsley root tasted like parsnips or had the same mouth feel. I was just trying to draw a visual picture for Anne.

Certainly you're right that the root is more complex in flavor than the tops. But that's true of just about any plant in which both the roots and tops are edible. Beet tops, for instance, don't come close to the flavor complexity of the roots, for instance.

And I have to agree with you. Parsley root makes the most sense in soups, stews, and similar dishes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2013 at 16:12
Anne, I've not pulled them that late. I suspect if you wait until they go to seed that the roots will be woody.

I usually pull them just when the plants look like they're starting to bolt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2013 at 16:32
Note moved to February Tongue (don't forget we are six months opposite to you).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 October 2013 at 11:01
Alright, I've got lots of fresh vegetables for this, including many that were bught from a local Hutterite colony - I should even have fresh tomatoes from the garden! I'll check the price on brisket, but The Beautiful Mrs. Tas really enjoyed this soup when we substituted kiełbasa last time, so we'll mist likely go with that again.
 
 
This will be made this weekend, and photos for a pictorial will be taken. Thanks, Brook, for sharing this!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GarethM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2013 at 08:45
My wife made this for me this weekend.  Loved it Thumbs Up

It was a shame that she wouldn't even try it because of the fruit in it (she does not like savory foods with fruit in).  Still more for me Wink

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2013 at 08:51
it is good, isn't it gareth? i really liked the sweet/savory play between the ingredients.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote GarethM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2013 at 09:04
Ron,
 
It was a revelation.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it!
 
Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2013 at 09:15
Definitely good stuff - I'm very glad you tried it, and enjoyed it! We'll continue to spread the cabbage soup gospel. For me, the revelation was both the play on flavours - each bringing out the other more than either could alone - and the way that so much good, fresh produce could work together to really create so much comforting warmth and happiness.
 
I took photos when I last made it, and will get them formatted/posted as a pictorial as soon as I can. I was able to use a lot of fresh ingredinets, but I did substitute kielbasa-type sausage from the grocery, rather than using brisket. next time, I absolutely intend to use beef, either in the form of brisket or some other similar cut.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2013 at 08:43
Gareth, when I read your post I asked myself, "fruit? What is he talking about? There's no fruit in that soup."

Then I discovered something about myself. I don't think of raisins as fruit. Kind of strange, and something I never gave thought to before.

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Next time, leave the raisins out. It won't significantly change the soup, and your wife could enjoy it as well.
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