Polish Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusniak)

Sauerkraut is finely sliced fermented cabbage just like pickle. To prepare it, you need to shred/slice cabbage, sprinkle some salt, massage and squeeze to get the juice out, and then let it fermenting. The sugar in the cabbage will be converted into lactic acid by lactobacillus bacteria. This is why sauerkraut is considered as probiotic food, which is very good for health, especially for our digestive system. It can be eaten raw as side dish/salad or cooked, for example in sauerkraut soup.

The English name ‘sauerkraut’ is taken from German word which means “sour cabbage”.  While in Polish it is kiszona kapusta. It is very popular in Poland to ferment shredded cabbage and carrots together.

Ready Kapusniak or Polish Sauerkraut Soup
Ready Kapusniak

Sauerkraut soup is very popular in some European countries, Poland being one of them. Today we will share our Polish sauerkraut soup or ‘kapusniak’. To do the halal version, just substitute pork with beef.

Ingredients of Kapusniak or Polish Sauerkraut Soup
Kapusniak ingredients

Kapusniak or sauerkraut soup ingredients:

  • 500 g pork ribs
  • 100 g smoked bacon or kransky sausage (diced)
  • 400 g sauerkraut
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2 liter water
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 stalks parsley
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 dried mushrooms (can be shitake)

Other ingredients:

  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/3 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 2 allspice
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp marjoram
Kapusniak or Polish Sauerkraut in progress
Cooking Polish Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusniak)

How to make kapusniak or sauerkraut soup:

  • Cut pork ribs to your desired size.
  • Peel brown onion, cut to two. Grill half of the onion until aromatic (a little bit burn is fine) and leave it aside.
  • Chop the other half of onion and fry it with a tablespoon of oil, add diced smoked bacon or kransky sausage, cook for 10 minutes, then keep it aside.
  • Boil water in a medium to big pot, add cut pork ribs and salt and bring it back to boil. Remove the scum (the foamy substance) with a ladle. After that, set the heat to low and let it cook for about 40 minutes.
  • Add carrot, parsnip and the grilled half onion into the pot.
  • Add bay leaves, allspice and dried mushrooms into the pot, then let it cook over low heat with cover for 30 minutes.
  • Take out carrots and parsnip from the pot, leave it aside to cool down. After that shred them with box grater  to make long, thin strips.
  • Add potatoes and bring it to boil, and let it cook over low heat and covered by lid for 10 minutes.
  • Strain out the excessive juice of sauerkraut without squeezing it, so it won’t be to sour, then add it into the soup, followed by shredded carrot and parsnip and parsley. Cook for 15 minutes.  Put more salt if it is not salty enough.
  • At last, add the cooked onion with bacon/sausage as well as caraway seeds and marjoram into the soup. Let it boil for 10 minutes, then kapusniak is ready to be served.
Homemade sauerkraut in jar
Homemade Sauerkraut

We hope you like this recipe!

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