Baba Pearl’s Sauerkraut Soup

Time: 4 hours

This is a dish from both my husband’s and my childhoods. We both ate it with pork ribs in the soup, other recipes don’t include but might include mushrooms. This is as close as I could get it to my grandma and my husband’s grandma’s versions which were remarkably similar and definitely comfort food on a really cold evening.

Music Selection: Zlata Ognevich – Ukrainian National Anthem

Ingredients:

1 lb bacon, cut into strips

3 onions, diced

3 potatoes, grated

2 carrots, thinly coined

2 bay leaves

8 cups chicken broth or water

3 L sauerkraut, drained and rinsed

1 ½ lbs pork spareribs, cut into 1 or 2 rib pieces

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp chopped dill (fresh or dried) – or to taste

Optional: chicken bouillon

3 Tbsp smoked paprika (or to taste)

Salt/pepper

Water

Sour cream for serving

Rye bread  – toasted and buttered for serving

Directions:

In a large pot (that can hold about 16 cups), fry the bacon, that has been cut into strips.

As it is cooking, cut the ribs into 1 – 2 rib pieces and dice the onions. Add the ribs to the pot, to brown.

When they are browned, add in the onion.

In the meantime, grate the potatoes (we leave skin on). Peel the carrots and cut into coins.

Mince the garlic and add to the pot. Add the carrots, too and mix. Let cook for a few minutes.

In the meantime, strain/drain the sauerkraut and rinse it well.  When the carrots are soft, add in the sauerkraut and let it cook for a few minutes, mixing it well. Add in the smoked paprika and dill.

Add in the potatoes and mix well.

Finally, add the broth/water and two bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for another 3 hours, stirring and adding water or chicken broth from time to time, if you like it thinner. It will thicken as the potatoes cook. Remove bay leaves.

Serve in large bowls, with sour cream, extra dill. Great sides are rye bread that is toasted and buttered, garlic sausage and perogies.

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