Kapusniak (Polish Sauerkraut Soup)

So I’ve been kinda on a soup kick the last couple of weeks. I thought it was only proper to follow-up my Dill Pickle Soup recipe with another of my favorite Polish soups Kapusniak. Now, Kapusniak like Bigos can have many different variations and there really aren’t very many rules when it comes to this one pot meal. I like mine extremely thick and full of meat. My Stepdad likes his with more broth and less meat and he is from Poland. So who is right? We both are, as always eat the way you like right? Right. I like to make my initial broth the day before I finish the soup so I can cool it and remove the fat that rises to the top. Think of this recipe as a guideline. You can follow it exactly if you like or compromise with what you have on hand in the fridge. So here is what you need to make this recipe the way I do. I had some chicken wings in the freezer I threw in the broth as well just to use them up. Not sure if it really made a difference but if you have that left over piece of something or other hanging around in the freezer throw it in unless it is freezer burned of course.

INGREDIENTS

2 to 2.5 pounds of bone in pork ribs (I use left over rib tips and flap meat from my St. Louis cut spareribs)

3 quarts of water (2 quarts after the 2 hour simmer)

1 – 24oz jar of sauerkraut with juice (I like Bavarian style made with white wine)

1/2 small head of cabbage chopped small

1 onion chopped

3 carrots shredded

2 to 3 medium ribs of celery finely sliced

1 medium potato peeled and chopped (I like Yukon Gold)

1/4 cup of long cooking Pearl Barley

2 tablespoons of double strength tomato paste (I like Amore brand)

2 Bay Leaves

2 whole allspice

2 Tablespoons of reduced sodium Better than Bouillon beef base

1 pound of smoked Polish sausage sliced into rounds

Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: The day before you want to eat the soup, simmer the pork ribs uncovered in 3 quarts of water for two hours. Remove from heat, cool overnight in the fridge leaving the ribs in the broth. Simmer the barley in water for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain reserving for the next day. The following day remove the fat from the top of the broth and discard. Remove the rib meat from the bones and set aside. Measure your broth and top off with water if necessary until you have two quarts of broth. Place all of the remaining ingredients along with the reserved meat into the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid slightly cracked and simmer for one hour until the fresh cabbage and vegetables are tender.  If possible serve with a Sourdough Rye and butter.

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