Fresh cabbage soup or shchi is one of the national dishes of Russia, and reminiscent of soup we enjoyed while we lived in Prague.
3 T butter or olive oil
1 large chopped onion
1 large head cabbage cut into shreds
1 large peeled and coarsely grated carrot
1 chopped celery
1 bay leaf
Black peppercorns to taste
8 cups water or vegetable stock
2 large peeled and coarsely chopped russet potatoes
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh dill for garnish
Sour cream for garnish
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté onion in butter until translucent. Add cabbage, carrots and celery and sauté about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add bay leaf, peppercorns and water or stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
Add potatoes to soup and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings.