Sunday, October 25, 2015

Stschi - Meat and Cabbage Stew

My lovely brother accused me of posting elitist bourgeoise recipes using the steam oven, so here's a recipe for the people--LITERALLY. This is from DDR Kochbuch - Das Original, a cookbook of East German recipes that we got in Weimar. This clearly influenced by the multitude of Russian recipes for shchi, or cabbage soup. Being on the eastward side of the iron curtain, many GDR recipes were influenced by cuisine from within the USSR.

I believe this could be made with sauerkraut rather than fresh cabbage. If you use kraut, rinse it a couple of times first, and then don't add vinegar later on.

The humble appearance of this soup belies wonderfully rich flavor. For this version we used pork loin, but can be made with other cuts of pork, or with beef or veal. The meat is cooked until tender, but still with some chew to it.

2 lbs.  boneless stew meat: beef, pork, or veal (or 3-5 lbs bone-in)
1 large celery root (celeriac), cubed
1 large leek, separate the leaves, wash thoroughly and dice
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 white cabbage, shredded finely (~4 c.)
OR 1 can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (omit vinegar)
1 stick butter
2 bay leaves
1 bundle thyme (optional)
white pepper
~1 Tbsp cider vinegar, to taste

Place the whole meat chunk (no need to cube) in a large pot and cover with 2 qts. water or broth, add the bay leaves and thyme, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1.5 hrs or until tender. Remove from the pot and allow to cool enough to cut into cubes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, melt the butter. Add the leeks and cook over low heat until they are softened. Increase the heat and add the celeriac and carrots. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the edges of the vegetables start to brown (do not burn).

Strain the broth into the soup pot, and bring the broth and vegetables back to a gentle boil. Add the cabbage/kraut and simmer for 5 minutes or until just tender. Add the chopped meat and adjust the seasoning with salt, white pepper, and vinegar. When heated through, serve hot, with buttered bread.

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