Saturday, December 3, 2022

Mel Markon's, Restaurateur, Authentic Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup Recipe.

Mel Markon's Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup quickly became my benchmark for judging all other sweet & sour cabbage soups.
An actual photo of Mel Markon's Famous Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage Soup. 

A very close 2nd to Mel Markon's came from "What's Cooking Restaurant" in the Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Chicago. It's a brothier, tomatoey soup with chunkier vegetables and a bit sweet. Straight from the old country  

Being a serious "foodie" since I was 7 years old, I must step out of my Chicagoland roots to Manhattan's Carnegie Deli on 57th Street, New York. They opened just offstage from Midtown Manhattan's theater district in 1937.  Carnegie's Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup had a velvety texture and perfectly cooked beef. It's a shame that they permanently closed on December 31, 2016. 
I ordered a cup of chicken matzo ball soup at the Carnegie. The waitress came to the table and plopped down a bowl of chicken soup with one GIGANTIC  matzo ball resting in the center. The Waitress says, "There ain't no way to get those matzoballs [is 'matzoball' one word?] in a cup, so we serve 'em the matzoball in a bowl,  filled with soup."

  • 24 cups water (1½ gal)
  • 3 lbs short rib of beef
  • 2 heads of cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 med. onion, chopped 
  • 2 cups tomato ketchup
  • 1 - 4.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2⁄3 cup lemon juice 
  • 3 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt - to taste
  • Boil the meat in [filtered] water using a stainless steel or enameled pot. 
  • Skim the froth as it rises.
  • Skim the froth/fat off the broth a few times while it simmers for 1 hour.
  • Transfer meat to a cutting board and trim off bones, fat, and grizzle.
  • Cut the cooked meat into bite-sized pieces, and add back to the broth. 
  • Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes.
Ready In: 2hrs 30mins
Serves: 18

By Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.