Soak the beef in cold water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes and put on to cook in fresh cold water with the onion, quartered. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.
Cook the cabbage in boiling salted water, covered, until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain very thoroughly.Drain the meat, reserving