A Russian style soup with many variations, which, according to Wikipedia, dates back to the 9thC.
Wikipedia: Shchi is a traditional soup of Russia where it has been known as far back as the 9th century, soon after cabbage was introduced from Byzantium. Its popularity in Russia originates from several factors. Shchi is relatively easy to prepare; it can be cooked with or without various types of meat; and it can be frozen and carried as a solid on a trip to be cut up when needed. Finally, it was noticed that most people do not get sick of shchi and can eat it daily. As a result, by the 10th century shchi became a staple food of Russia, and another popular saying sprang from this fact: “Щи да каша — пища наша.” (Shchi da kasha — pishcha nasha “Shchi and kasha are our food”).
Based on the humble and beautiful cabbage, this is a recipe that inevitably has endless variations.
Here’s my vegan version. Based on a traditional vegetable version, I’ve included Sauerkraut, which makes it Sour Shchi.
It’s one of those soups that matures with time, so, if you want to try it, don’t hesitate to make a big batch, as it tastes even better the next day.
Hope you enjoy!
Serves 4 or more…
Cook’s note: don’t worry about being too exact with the measurements… this soup is very flexible 🙂
Cook’s note: * I made a vegetable stock by simmering 2 bay leaves, 2 large sticks of celery, 2 carrots, 1/2 an onion, 4 cloves and large handful of dill (and/or thyme) in 1800ml. water.
Wash trim and peel the stock vegetables and then place in a pan with the herbs, cloves and water. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer gently for at least an hour, preferably 90 mins. Allow to cool, and then remove and discard all the vegetables and herbs, leaving a clear fragrant stock.
Alternatively use a standard stock powder, and make up 1200ml. of hot stock.
- 1200 ml. vegetable stock * (see note above)
- 1 small cabbage (I used a savoy cabbage) approx. 400gms. Washed, trimmed and shredded. (Remove toughest stalks).
- 200gms. sauerkraut
- approx. 650 gms. potatoes: peeled, washed and cubed : approx. 1 cm. square.
- 200-gms. carrots: peeled, washed and coarsely grated.
- 1 leek approx. 75 gms.: trimmed, washed and finely sliced.
- 1 small onion approx. 75 gms.: peeled and finely diced.
- 4-5 tbs. olive oil
- 400gms. chopped tomatoes (fresh or tinned) : skin fresh tomatoes if using, and chop finely.
- 150 gms. mushrooms: sliced into thick slices: approx.5 cm. thick.
- 225 gms. cooked beans e.g. cannellini
- 3 tsps. salt
- 2 tsps. coarse ground black pepper
- 2 tsps. paprika
- 10 gms. fresh herbs : e.g. dill, chives, thyme parsley: finely chopped.
- Transfer the stock to a deep-sided pan with a good lid.
- Add the shredded cabbage, the cubed potatoes. Stir to combine.
- Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a minimum, cover, and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the cover and add chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium.
- Don’t let the soup boil frantically, but keep it simmering nicely.
- Meanwhile, in a wide pan on a high heat, add 2 tbs. olive oil. When hot, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté them for 3-4 mins. on each side. Add a little extra oil if necessary.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Rinse the wide pan and return it to the heat.
- On a medium-high heat, add 2 tbs. olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the grated carrots, the sliced leek and the diced onion.
- Sauté for 8 mins. or so. Stir from time to time to avoid burning.
- In the last minute of sautéing the vegetables, add the salt, the pepper and the paprika. Stir to combine. Avoid burning the spices.
- Add the sautéed vegetables to the soup and stir in.
- Add the sautéed mushrooms and the pre-cooked beans.
- Stir to combine.
- Simmer for 10-15 mins.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Switch off the heat, stir in half the herbs, and leave to infuse for 5 mins.
Serve garnished with more fresh herbs and Vegan Sour Cream.
Recipe for a quick vegan sour cream click image: