I was inspired by my beautiful CSA Napa cabbage and the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashana. I was yearning for the tastes and aromas of holiday traditions in my past and decided to work on a recipe for Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup. Who knew that this process would result in the most heavenly, divine soup that it did! So if you’re tired of cabbage salad, I urge you to try this unbelievable Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup!
Aside from cabbage, the most important ingredient for me was some caramelized, tender, falling off the bone beef short ribs. Next was a medley of fresh vegetables and of course something to create both the sweet and sour sensation. Most of the cooking time is hands off, as it needs to simmer for over two hours to gain the depth of flavor and tenderness required to make it exceptional. Another must is to make it the day before serving it so it can mellow and become the harmonious bowl of flavor that will make you coming back for more!
SWEET & SOUR CABBAGE SOUP
- 2 lbs. beef short ribs
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
- 4 medium carrots sliced on the diagonal 1/4-inch thick
- 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored and cut in wedges
- 1 15-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes cut in wedges, including sauce in can
- 1 large head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 quart beef stock
- 1 quart water
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Sprinkle the meat on all sides with 1/2 tsp salt. Place in heavy 8 qt. pot. Place over medium-high heat and sear until browned on all sides, turning often. Remove to a plate.
- Add the oil, onion and carrots to the same pan. Saute 5 minutes until onions are wilted, but not browned.
- Add the fresh and canned tomatoes and their sauce and stir, cooking another 2-3 minutes until the tomato juices start bubbling.
- Add half the cabbage and top with the short ribs. Place the remaining cabbage on top of the meat. Add stock, water, 1 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and sugars. Cover and bring to a boil. (If you cannot fit it all in your pot, cover and cook the cabbage and meat for a couple of minutes to shrink it in the pot and then add the liquids and seasonings)
- Lower heat and simmer gently for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is so tender it practically falls apart when prodded with a fork.
- Stir in the lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt, pepper, sugar or lemon juice, as desired.
- Remove the beef ribs (and possibly their bones if they have separated in the soup). Shred the meat into large pieces and add back into the soup, discarding the bones.
- Let the soup cool to room temperature and then transfer to the refrigerator overnight. Reheat on medium heat and serve with a loaf of Challah or other bread for dipping.
- Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months.