This delectable soup is probably one of the oldest Russian dishes, with a history dating back to the 9th century. It is very easy to cook, and in the old days people would freeze it and cut it into pieces to bring to a boil during extended winter travels.
Shchi is a diluted cabbage soup based on meat or fish stock. Sometimes cabbage is exchanged for sauerkraut or sorrel. Other ingredients include potatoes, mushrooms, onions, carrots and herbs. Top your shchi with sour cream, cut a piece of rye bread and enjoy this hearty and slightly sour soup!
- Add the butter to a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
- Add the shredded cabbage, shredded carrot and chopped celery. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the bay leaf and black peppercorns. Add the water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the soup and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped fresh tomatoes (or undrained canned tomatoes) and bring the soup back to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes without a lid. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the bay leaf and peppercorns from the pot.
- Serve with fresh sour cream and fresh dill.