Sauerkraut soup called kapustinica in Slovakia, is a hearty and delicious soup that is often served in a bread bowl.
In Slovakia, soup is a typical first course. This sauerkraut soup could easily be a meal unto itself. It is thick, warm and meaty. It has a lovely depth of flavor which must be why it is one of the favorites among soups in Slovakia, and is popular throughout the entire country.
Slovakia is known to use ingredients that are easy to come by, making this sauerkraut soup a staple. Sauerkraut is simply cabbage cut finely that is fermented in some type of lactic acid. It has been made for centuries by different cultures.
When I told my husband I was making sauerkraut soup he said he would pass. I guess sauerkraut was served often in the mess hall when he served in the army. He said just the smell of it would make him ill. Please don’t buy canned sauerkraut, get some good stuff in a jar or bag. It will make all the difference to the end result of this dish. I am happy to say that my husband did not get sick by the smell and actually truly loved the soup. He wondered about all the times he missed out when sauerkraut was served with other things in his life that he refused to try. It is one of the fun parts of our International Cuisine journey!
This sauerkraut soup is always served with a side of sour cream or a dollop on top.
This is a wonderful recipe that you and your family are sure to love. This recipe makes quite a bit, if you should have any left over, it freezes beautifully!
We served the soup in a bread bowl which always makes for a lovely presentation but could easily be enjoyed just in a bowl with a side of bread. By the way if bread is served as a side you should not put it on your main plate, just an interesting etiquette note if dining in Slovakia. You should also leave the napkin on the side of the plate instead of placing it on your lap. If you would like to learn more about Slovakia be sure to check out “Our Journey to Slovakia”. You will also find more authentic recipes like bryndzove halusky, Slovakia’s national dish.
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Sauerkraut Soup (Kapustinca from Slovakia)
Sauerkraut soup is hearty and perfect on a cold winter day. A true comfort food.
- 1 pound smoked ham hock
- 1 pound pork spareribs preferably smoked, separated if on the rack
- 3 quarts water
- 2 cups 1 pound sauerkraut, drained
- 1 large onion chopped
- 6 prunes pitted and cut in half
- 1 cup dry white wine
- One 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 large garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 1/2 ounces dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms soaked in water to cover for 30 minutes, drained, and chopped
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
Place the ham hock and the spareribs in a large pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook, skimming the surface of foam and adding water if it is evaporating, until the meat can fall off the bone, about 3 hours. Remove the meat from the pot and dice, discarding the bones and fat.
Return the meat to the pot and add the sauerkraut, onion, prunes, wine, tomato paste, garlic, mushrooms, caraway, and marjoram. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 3/4 hours.
Add the sausage and continue to cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Remove the sausage and cut it into slices, return it to the soup, and simmer while you prepare the roux.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, make the paprika roux, called zaprazka. Melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour and paprika to form a roux. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add to the soup, and stir to blend. Serve hot.
Please note that if you are using a bread bowl, simply cut off the top of a round sourdough bread loaf and scoop out the inside. Heat the shell in the oven until warm and the outside gets a little bit crusty. Serve the hot soup in the bread bowl.