Both nutritious and bursting with flavor, shchi is the quintessential Russian soup. This affordable, easy to make dish will no doubt become a staple of your winter repertoire. The traditional first course of Russian meals for over a thousand years, its main ingredient is cabbage, often in sauerkraut form, in which case the dish is called sour shchi.
- Active time: 30 mins
- Total time: 1h15
- 1 cup (250 ml) dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 small potatoes, cubed
- 3 cups (750 ml) simple sauerkraut
- 4 tbs (60 ml) vegetable oil
- ¼ cup (65 ml) water
- 2 carrots, cut into rounds
- 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ½ cup (125 ml) fresh parsley leaves
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) sugar
- Fresh parsley, dill and sour cream for serving (optional)
Rehydrate the mushrooms by soaking them in a bowl filled with water for at least 1 hour.
While the mushrooms are soaking, boil the potatoes. Wring out the sauerkraut by hand and pulse it for several seconds in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat in a pan until tender. Add 2 tbs (30 ml) of oil and the water and stir together. Cover the pan and set aside.
Drain the rehydrated mushrooms and reserve the soaking water. Cut the mushrooms into thin strips. Heat the rest of the oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the mushrooms for 5 minutes. Gradually blend in the sauerkraut, soaking water, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onion, parsley, celery, salt and sugar.
Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. Add some water if it seems too thick. Serve with fresh herbs and sour cream.