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Traditional Russian Sour Cabbage (Sauerkraut) Soup Recipe - Kislye Shchi


Russian Sour Cabbage Soup or Kislye Shchi

Russian Sour Cabbage Soup or Kislye Shchi

© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
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.

Here is a larger photo of Russian Sour Cabbage Soup or Kislye Shchi.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings Russian Sour Shchi


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


  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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.
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