HEALTHY SAUERKRAUT SOUP

HEALTHY SAUERKRAUT SOUPFrom Germany to Austria to Hungary to Poland to Slovakia and beyond, Kapustnica, AKA sauerkraut soup, is a staple.  It is a flavorful soup made from that delicious fermented cabbage we all love so much!  It will just knock your socks off without needing much seasoning, even though adding certainly doesn’t hurt!

The most common ingredients are sauerkraut (Durr), mushrooms, and onions.  However, it’s not too uncommon to see carrots, turnips, or even apples included in the pot. The soup can also be made vegan with a plain clear broth, or it can be thickened with a roux or with cream.  To add another layer of flavor, many choose to add sausage, bacon, or braised pork to the pot.  Seasoning depends on personal taste and location, varying from nothing at all, to your basic salt-pepper-garlic trio, to Hungarian paprika, caraway, bay leaf, nutmeg, and cloves (especially around the holidays).  The flavors involved in the sauerkraut soup are all really a matter of personal preference, what you have on hand, or your family roots!

I personally prefer the sauerkraut soup lightly thickened with just a roux, as I am not a fan of heavy creamy soups.  However, stirring in tempered sour cream works really well with the following recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 Pound Sauerkraut, juice reserved
  • 1 Pint Sliced Mushrooms
  • 3 Tablespoons your choice of fat (ex: butter, lard, veg oil)
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Pounds Pork
  • 1 Pound Smoked Kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Quarts of Water or Soup Stock (the heartier the better)
  • 1 Generous Teaspoon Hungarian Paprika
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 5 whole black Peppercorns
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Cup Tempered Sour Cream (optional)

 Directions

  1. Braise and brown your meat in your choice of the fat in a large stock pot, remove and set aside.
  2. Brown onions, celery, mushrooms and garlic in the pot.
  3. Return meat to the pot, Add the rest of the ingredients, except for a small bit of sauerkraut juice, flour, and the optional sour cream. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 3 hours.
  5. Remove the pork from the soup and cut into smaller pieces removing the bones and gristle. Return to the pot.
  6. Mix your reserved sauerkraut juice into the flour until it is smooth. If you desire a creamier soup, mix the sour cream in with the reserved juice and flour mixture until smooth.
  7. Add flour-juice mixture to the soup and heat until the soup is thickened and then serve!

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