Original Mushroom & Sons Sweet Sour Cabbage Soup

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As a young teen, Murray Simon worked his way through some of Chicago’s great delis in the early ’50s: Purity, S & L, Randl’s and more. He learned how to make knishes & blintzes and paid attention to what went into the soup pot. The Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup he created for the Mushroom & Sons restaurant he opened in Highland Park in 1973 was all about those flavor memories. “The goal with every recipe I created for Mushroom & Sons was to make it taste like those deli dishes I had when I was a kid,” says Simon. This recipe, dictated by Simon, makes enough for a crowd.

Makes 4 gallons


  • 3 heads white cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/2 gallons water
  • 1 5/8 cups tomato paste
  • 1 qt canned tomatoes, or fresh tomato ends, coarsely chopped
  • 1 qt onion, chopped
  • 1/8 cup of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 qt sugar
  • 1 cup good quality beef base
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped curly parsley
  • 1/8 cup each, garlic and onion powder
  • 3/4 plus 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup caraway seeds (put in a knotted piece of cheesecloth if you want the flavor, without the texture in the finished soup)
  • 1/3 box cornstarch
  • skirt steak (optional add-in)


  1. Combine and cook all ingredients but the cornstarch. When the cabbage is tender, mix the cornstarch with enough water to make a smooth slurry. Slowly stir in to boiling soup until the soup thickens slightly and becomes glossy.

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