Traditional Russian Sour Cabbage (Sauerkraut) Soup Recipe

Homemade cabbage soup shchi with sour cream and bread
Lisovskaya Natalia / Getty Images
  • 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 6-8 servings Russian Sour Shchi
Ratings (12)

Fresh cabbage soup or shchi (SHEE) and sour cabbage (sauerkraut) soup or kislye shchi are two traditional Russian soups. There also is a green shchi made with sorrel, spinach and other greens, which is known as zelyoniye shchi in Russian. As with most dishes, the recipes vary from cook to cook and from region to region. This sour cabbage soup recipe is made with fresh pork shoulder and smoked pork spareribs. Some cooks make theirs with beef brisket and cracked beef marrow bones.

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound pork (shoulder, trimmed and cut into chunks)
  • 1 pound pork ribs (spare)
  • 1 pound sauerkraut (drained, and rinsed, if desired)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 large leek (cleaned and sliced, white and light green parts only)
  • 1 medium parsnip (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 large tomato (peeled, seeded, and diced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black peppercorns to taste
  • Optional: 1 large potato (peeled and diced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream or heavy cream, dill sprigs

How to Make It

  1. Rinse meat and pat dry. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, place pieces of pork shoulder and spareribs and sear lightly on all sides. Add the sauerkraut and water, and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, adding more water, if necessary.

  2. In a medium skillet, sauté onion, leek, parsnip and carrot in 1 tablespoon butter until transluscent. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour, add tomatoes, 1 cup of the pork stock, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, whisking often to incorporate the flour.

  1. Transfer to the saucepan containing the pork stock, meat and sauerkraut. If using potatoes, now is the time to add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

  2. Divide meat among heated bowls. Remove the bay leaf from the soup and ladle into bowls. Serve with sour cream or heavy cream and dill sprigs, if desired. Accompany with rye bread.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 365
Total Fat 15 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Unsaturated Fat 7 g
Cholesterol 82 mg
Sodium 669 mg
Carbohydrates 27 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Protein 29 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)