Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup?
I had the same craving a few months ago. I consulted several recipes, and came up with my own spin. My husband declared it better than the local deli's.
CABBAGE SOUP WITH MEAT
2 lbs brisket
2 quarts water
2 onions, diced
1 large can crushed tomatoes
3 lbs cabbage, coarsely shredded (small head)
1 carrot, diced
1 parsnip, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1. Cut up meat and combine with water in a deep saucepan. Bring to a boil and skim.
2. Add the onions and tomatoes. Cover and cook over low heat 1 hour (or less).
3. Add the cabbage, remaining vegetables, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook at least 1 hour.
4. Stir in the lemon juice and sugar. Cook 20 minutes. Taste to correct seasoning if necessary.
I just tried this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and loved it. It's an old Russian recipe from the website of Arthur Schwartz who used to have a foodie radio program on WOR-AM in NYC. The recipe incorporates flanken (short ribs) for extra heartiness.
I make it vegetarian, but you could easily meat-ify it.
Take 1 finely diced onion, four minced cloves of garlic and 1/4 cup of good quality italian tomato paste and sautee together over medium heat in 1/4 cup olive oil, stirring constantly, until the oil turns red and the onions get translucent. Add about a quart a half of broth. Bring up to the simmer and add in about 3 cups shredded green cabbage and 2 carrots (cut up into pieces) a pinch of thyme. Simmer for about 1/2 an hour. Add white vinegar to get the amount of sourness that you like.
I usually serve it with some sour cream or creme fraiche.
To make it meaty, I would get some beef and brown it in the olive oil before adding the onions etc. and then take it out while I cooked down the onions, garlic and tomato paste then put it back in for the half hour of simmering. Just pick beef that will cook well and be tasty in the time allotted, or else cook the beef in the broth for a while before adding the cabbage and carrots, in which case you'd probably need a bit more broth to compensate for the evaporation. Alternately, I've made this soup with little meat balls and that works well.