Wondering what, exactly, to serve with your potato latkes this Chanukah? Us too! Instead of consulting Google, we put Marjorie Druker, chef and owner of New England Soup Factory, to the test. And instead of just giving us the goods via email, she offered to show us one of her popular recipes—sweet and sour cabbage soup with beef short ribs (which can also be made vegetarian).
During Jewish holidays at her restaurant, Marjorie favors Jewish soups that were made many years ago, using ingredients like mushrooms, barley, flanken (Yiddish for “short ribs”) and, of course, matzah balls. Since Chanukah usually falls in the deep cold of December in Boston, she loves making this hearty soup that she dubbed “the king of all cabbage soup recipes.”
“Using bones in the soup fortifies it and makes it very rich,” Marjorie says. “This is what builds a soup stock. But really, one of the secrets of success in this recipe is using lots of lemon juice and lots of brown sugar. The sweet and the sour cannot be subtle; it needs to be like pow! It really needs to be strong. It’s supposed to hit you in all the right spots. It’s rich, filling and it tells a story about Jewish life. If you look at Jewish history, there’s conflict. There are sweet times and there are sour times. Together we need to taste both in order to understand our lives.”
The JewishBoston.com team enjoyed nothing less than a feast in Marjorie’s kitchen as she prepared this delicious soup, which she paired with rye bread, crisp latkes made with Yukon gold potatoes, fresh applesauce and an array of crunchy pickles. A meal like this “brings food and family and friends together, and it keeps the Jewish tradition and Jewish cuisine alive,” she says.
Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup with Dill
By Chef Marjorie Druker of New England Soup Factory
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups diced onions
2 cups sliced carrots
½ cup diced celery
1 head of cabbage, diced or sliced
¾ cup golden yellow raisins
3 ½ quarts chicken or beef stock (or vegetable stock if you’re eliminating the meat)
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 large beef bones (such as short ribs, roasted for 90 minutes) or leftover brisket pieces
2 cups V8 juice
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
½-¾ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
¼ cup freshly chopped dill
Kosher salt, to taste
Heat a very large heavy-lined stockpot for 2 minutes. Add the canola oil, onions, carrots and celery, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to sauté an additional 5 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the dill, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat slightly (keeping the soup moving to a simmer) and cook for 1.5 hours. Remove from the heat and add the dill. Adjust the seasoning and add more lemon juice or brown sugar to suit your tastes.
For more yummy soup recipes, check out “The New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation’s Best Purveyor of Fine Soup.”