This recipe for Kapuśniak Sauerkraut Soup comes from Nela’s Cookbook. As I’ve said before, soups are very popular in Poland, and this one caught my eye because I’ve never thrown a slab of ribs into a soup pot before.
It worked out well. Polish sauerkraut or kapusta kiszona is naturally fermented, soured by bacteria in the air.
If you’re using American sauerkraut which has been soured with vinegar, you’ll want to drain and rinse the kraut. If you’re using a naturally fermented sauerkraut, there’s no need to rinse, just drain and use.
My friend, Sally, tells me her Czech grandmother used to make this soup; the difference being that grandma used a ham bone rather than a rack of ribs. Many other readers have mentioned that their family made this with pork neck bones. Both variations make sense. Soup is often using up what you have on hand, stretching it to make a meal. To use a rack of ribs is a sign of abundance, not your typical soup-making philosophy.
A traditional soup of preserved cabbage (sauerkraut), mushrooms, and rib meat!
- 1 pound sauerkraut
- 4 cups beef broth or 4 cups water and 2 Knorr beef bullion cubes
- 2 pounds pork spareribs
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 peppercorns
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 ounces dried mushrooms (optional)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Rinse and drain the sauerkraut
- In a large pot, add the broth, spareribs, bay leaves, peppercorns, carrots, and dried mushrooms (fresh chanterelles were in the market so I sliced 2 cups and used them instead. I think this was also easier than retrieving the dried, cooked mushrooms for slicing)
- Cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours
- Remove the mushrooms and cut them into strips. Return them to the pot and add 4 more cups of water
- Melt sugar over medium heat until it colors and caramelizes. Add the sauerkraut and the caramelized sugar to the pot, cover and cook for 30 minutes
- Remove the ribs from the pot, pull the meat off the bones and slice into bite-sized strips; return to soup.
- It’s ready to serve
Next time: Roladka Drobiowa (Polish Chicken Roulade)