Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup


My version of an old favorite Ashkenazi Jewish recipe. I make a stock first, then make the soup. This allows for de-fatting for a healthier soup, but you need to make this on two days, so time accordingly. For a healthier version, use sucralose instead of sugar - there is virtually no taste difference in sweet and sour recipes such as this one. Using Savoy cabbage gives the soup superlative texture and flavor.

Prep Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time:
5 hrs 30 mins
Additional Time:
1 day
Total Time:
1 day 7 hrs
12 servings


For the stock:

  • 4 pounds bone-in beef shank

  • 12 cups water

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces

  • 3 onions, peeled

  • 4 stalks celery with leaves

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 16 peppercorns

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 onion, peeled and diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika

  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine the beef shanks and water in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Use a strainer to skim off any foam on the surface. Add the carrot pieces, whole onions, celery stalks, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Simmer for 4 hours, skimming the surface occasionally.

  2. Strain the stock. Discard the vegetables but reserve the meat. Allow the stock to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate overnight. When the beef shanks are cool, remove the meat from the bones. Discard bones and gristle. Dice the meat and any remaining marrow into small cubes. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight.

  3. The next day, heat the vegetable oil in a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and 1 diced onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook 1 additional minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly wilted and reduced in bulk, about 8 minutes.

  4. Remove the beef stock from the refrigerator; skim and discard any fat. Pour the stock into the pot; stir in the reserved chopped beef. Add the tomatoes with their juice. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup, partially covered, until the cabbage is quite soft, about 1 hour.

  5. Stir in the lemon juice, sugar, dill, salt, and pepper. Add more water, if desired, for a thinner soup. Cook for 5 minutes, uncovered. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

247 Calories
7g Fat
22g Carbs
25g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 247
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 52mg 17%
Sodium 146mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 54mg 270%
Calcium 121mg 9%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 752mg 16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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