From the old times Russian people have been eating soups all year round. It is traditionally the first course of lunch. It refreshes in summer and warms your body and soul during cold Russian winter. We have many types of soups with meat and fish and all kind of vegetables and even grains.
But the most traditional one is shchi (щи). Shchi is a rich soup made on meat broth with cabbage (fresh or sour) and other vegetables. We can say that cabbage is the principal ingredient of this dish. Usually it is dressed with Smetana (sour cream).
Vegetarian version of shchi is also possible. It is just made without meat.
In the old times shchi had been stewing in the Russian oven. Notwithstanding the local differences in the cooking, the principle of it was invariable: in the clay (later cast iron) pot into the Russian oven permitting to keep mild temperature conditions during cooking.
The importance of this dish in the Russian culture is also shown by a big quantity of sayings and proverbs mentioning schi. Щи да каша – пища наша (Shchi da kasha – pischa nasha - Shchi and kasha are our food).
So try to cook the Russian shchi yourself using my recipe below.
You will need:
- Some beef for the broth (if you are not vegetarian). The classical recipe is with beef but pork is also possible
- cabbage (fresh or sour)
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 tomato or 1 spoon of tomato paste
- a little bit of garlic, verdure (usually dill and parsley)
- some sunflower oil
Boil the beef in salted water during 1 hour. Put away the meat.
Cut the cabbage finely, add it into the broth.
Cut potato by cubes, add it into the broth.
Cut the onion finely, grate the carrot and fry it all with some sunflower oil till the onion gets gold color. Add the tomato or tomato paste and garlic into this mixture
Put the fried mixture into the pan with other vegetables.
Mix it all, and let it be boiling for 10-15 minutes till all the vegetables are ready. Turn off, add verdure
Serve up and dress with some Smetana (sour cream). Enjoy!