Do you know what is the richest and most natural source of vitamin C in our latitudes during the winter? Even without all the scientific knowledge we have today, our ancestors were wise enough to keep sauerkraut at hand all through the long winter months.
They left us quite a few sauerkraut recipes, one of them being Sauerkraut Soup or Kapustnica. As with most recipes, the soup has many variations, but what it can’t be short of is sauerkraut, garlic, dried forest mushrooms, and in some regions paprika, too.
Sauerkraut is finely chopped white cabbage layered with salt and left to ferment in crocks. Properly cured sauerkraut has a wonderful microbial composition and apart from C vitamin, it is high in calcium, magnesium and iron. Sauerkraut is also a very good source of fibre and antioxidants, it balances pH levels in the stomach and helps break down proteins.
I always put a handful of sauerkraut aside when cooking, and eat it raw. It tastes so good!
Delicious Sauerkraut Soup
Serves 8 – 10
- 700 g sauerkraut
- 2½ l water
- 2 handfuls dried forest mushroom
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 black peppercorns, 3 allspice corns, 4 cloves
- 4 large potatoes
- 100 g dried cranberries or prunes
- 200 ml cooking cream (12% fat content in Slovakia)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
- Soak the dried mushrooms in cold water for about an hour. Strain on a sieve and place in a large cooking pot.
- Pour in the water and bring to the boil. Add the bay leaves and the spices enclosed in a tea strainer. Adjust the heat and let simmer.
- Meanwhile, peel and wash the potatoes. Dice them and add to the simmering mushrooms. Rinse the dried fruit in a sieve under running cold water.
- When the potatoes are tender, add the saeurkraut and the fruit. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the cream with the flour until smooth. Peel the garlic and crush it into the cream mixture. Add to the simmering stock and stir until it comes to the boil again. Throw in the paprika and stir well.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, but bear in mind the salinity of the sauerkraut. Serve hot in soup bowls.For festive occasions, we cook our traditional kapustnica with homemade sausages or smoked ham, and often replace cooking cream with crème fraiche (33% fat content in Slovakia).