There used to be a Jewish diner at the corner of Spadina and College streets in Toronto which served the most delicious Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup. I went there with a friend who knew of the diner on a cold and blustery winter day. It was a tiny place and the windows were all fogged over, but it was the perfect spot for lunch. I loved this soup so much that I actually made it shortly after, and I think that I got it right. And here I am many years later, vowing to make it again. It was just as good as the first time!
In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat.
Add beef and sear both sides until the beef loses it's color and starts to brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove seared beef to a plate and reserve.
Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the stock pot and add sliced onions and generously season with kosher salt and black pepper. Stir to combine and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Thinly slice cabbage and add to sautéed onions.
Return seared beef to stock pot, add tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes. Season well with kosher salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.
Add 2 cartons of beef stock, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.
Cover stock pot with the lid propped open with a wooden spoon and simmer the soup for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Cool soup to room temperature then place in the refrigerator over night.
The next day, degrease the soup and gently reheat. Remove the beef and cut into bite sized pieces, then return to the soup.
Add the ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar and taste for seasoning. The soup should taste sweet and sour and should be quite thick.
I changed quantities and added ingredients to this very traditional sweet and sour cabbage soup. I added 1/4 cup of ketchup at the end as ketchup has the same flavor profile as the sugar and vinegar called for in the original recipe and it adds a vibrant red color to the soup.
I also substituted tomato sauce, and I like Italian passata in a bottle for this, and I increased the quantity to make the soup thicker and to add even more color to the soup. The soup was delicious and just as good as my memory of the first time I tried it so many years ago.