When I used to eat meat – my general rule of the past ten or so years is to not eat things with four legs – I loved the the tangy beef and cabbage soup served at TooJay’s Deli. I finally found something comparable in a cookbook called “Soup Makes the Meal,” and, even better, it doesn’t rely on beef for flavor (although, by all means, add some bite-sized pieces and use beef stock if you want).
I do have to brag for a second: this soup won the blue ribbon in Temple Beth El’s (Knoxville, Tennessee) annual soup and chili cookoff. It really is that good.
1 Tbl olive oil
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cups cored and thinly sliced cabbage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl sweet paprika
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup canned chopped or crushed tomatoes
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
3 Tbl tomato paste
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 tsp sugar, to taste
black pepper, sour cream and chopped fresh parsley, to taste or to garnish
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until translucent, 8 to 9 minutes. Add the cabbage, salt lightly and cook until all the cabbage is wilted, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomatoes, carrot and tomato paste and season again with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add about half each of the lemon juice and sugar; simmer briefly, then taste, adding more sugar and lemon juice to get a mellow, but distinctly sweet-tart broth. Season with pepper. Serve piping hot with garnishes.