Solyanka (Russian Sweet and Sour Beef Soup)

  • Serves

    makes 10 Cups


A mix of fresh and cured beef and pork gives this classic sweet and sour soup heft. This recipe first appeared in our March 2013 issue, along with Leah Koenig's article Purifying Pleasures.

Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Soups and Stews


  • 1 lb. beef chuck, trimmed
  • 8 oz. kielbasa sausage
  • 4 oz. boneless ham steak
  • 2 oz. hard salami
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 3 whole allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 oz. sliced bacon, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 14 small head green cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 (15-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 1 12 large dill pickles, chopped
  • 1 12 tbsp. capers, drained
  • 14 cup pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1 12 tbsp. sugar
  • 12 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Chopped parsley, sliced scallions, and sour cream, for serving


Step 1

Cut beef, kielbasa, ham, and salami into 1⁄4" pieces; set aside. Place peppercorns, allspice, and bay on a piece of cheesecloth and tie into a tight package; set aside.

Step 2

Heat bacon over medium-high heat in a 6-qt. saucepan; cook until crisp, 4–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a bowl; set aside. Add meats to pot; cook until browned, 6–8 minutes. Add onion, celery, cabbage, and salt and pepper; cook until soft, 4–6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook, until slightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.

Step 3

Return bacon to pot with spice package, tomatoes, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add pickles and capers; cook until beef is very tender, 40–45 minutes.

Step 4

Remove spice package. Stir in olives, sugar, lemon, and salt and pepper. Serve with parsley, scallions, and sour cream.

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