1. Sprinkle the meat on all sides with
salt, then place it in a heavy, 8-quart pot. Place over medium-high
heat and sear until browned on both sides, turning several times.
Remove and set aside on a plate.
2. Immediately add the oil and the sliced
onion. Saute for 5 minutes, until onions are wilted.
3. Add the tomato wedges and stir with
the onions for 2 or 3 minutes, until the tomato juices start bubbling.
4. Add half the cabbage. Place the meat
on the cabbage, then top with the remaining cabbage. Add water,
salt, pepper and sugar. Cover and bring to a boil.
5. Lower heat and simmer, covered, very
gently, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat
is so tender it practically falls apart when prodded with a fork.
6. Stir in the lemon juice and taste for
seasoning, adjusting with additional salt, pepper, sugar or lemon
juice, as desired.
7. Refrigerate the soup overnight, then
skim off the hardened fat. Strip the meat into large pieces, discarding
bones. Return the meat to the soup. Reheat the soup.
8. Serve piping hot in a deep bowl with
a boiled potato on the side, or serve in a flat bowl with quarters
or chunks of potato in the bowl with the soup. Sprinkle with dill
only if you are one of those cooks who feel compelled to garnish;
the mahogany colored soup is beautiful as is.
Advance Preparation: The soup is much better if made a day
ahead and reheated. It also freezes very well. In either case, however,
it's flavor will require refreshening. Taste carefully for salt,
pepper and lemon juice.