- 1 small green cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound pastrami (or smoked meat), diced
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- Cut the cabbage into quarters lengthwise through the core. Trim out and discard the core from each quarter. Cut the cabbage crosswise into thin slices.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, onion, garlic and salt and stir to coat the vegetables in the oil. Pour in 1/2 cup water and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage and onion are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the pastrami, tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. Pour in enough additional water to cover the mixture by about 1 inch and bring it to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to maintain a low simmer. Skim the foam that rises to the top of the borscht. Cook, uncovered, until the cabbage is very tender and the flavors come together, about 1 hour. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days.
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