Archive for the ‘Stews’ Category

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.


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.


Braised Beef with Moroccan Spices

This was my contribution last Sunday prior to enjoying the banana bread. It was simple and delicious. I browned the meat in between the playoff games and let it braise while I sat back down to enjoy the game. This recipe is pretty bold spice wise. Not hot spicy but full of that wonderful Moroccan zip. I think I’m getting addicted to braising this winter. The technique goes well with these long cold snowy days.



Olive oil

2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast cut into 1 inch chunks

2 cups of chopped onions

3 garlic cloves pressed or chopped

1 tablespoon of garam masala

1 tablespoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon or 1/2 stick

1 whole star anise

1 1/2 cups dry red wine

1 15oz can of beef broth

2 carrots cut fairly thick on a bias

1 14 1/2 ounce can petite diced tomatoes with juice

1 cup of golden raisins

optional: A few cut up figs and dried apricots. If using, cut back on the raisins for a total of one full cup.

Directions: Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven. Salt and pepper the beef. Brown in batches and set aside. Add onions and saute until golden. Add garlic and all the dry spices and saute until very fragrant being careful not to burn the spices. Add the wine and simmer until reduced to a glaze (should coat the back of the spoon) continue stirring. Add all the other ingredients except the beef and bring to a simmer. Add the beef and any juices left in the bowl. Cover and braise in a 325 degree oven for 2 hours. Serve over couscous.

Beef Carbonnade

Since starting this blog I have been receiving recipes from other people regularly. Some come in  e-mails, private messages on Facebook, and some through friends and co-workers. The following recipe was given to my wife by a friend of hers at work. It was originally a Cooking Light recipe. She said that they had such a great response to the recipe that they actually re-posted it from 1995.

Upon receiving the recipe from my wife, I immediately noticed three major ingredients. Beef, bacon, and beer. I was good right there, I mean how in the world could this recipe be bad right? Right. As usual I couldn’t leave well enough alone. My wife told me to make the recipe as given as it came with rave reviews. I on the other hand had a different plan. I felt there were ingredients that needed to be increased, and definitely ingredients that needed to be added. I hope this is still a Carbonnade since I titled it that way. If not who cares, it turned out well. If anyone who reads this is Belgian please let me know if I destroyed one of your most famous dishes.

Cooks Notes: Cooking with beer. OK,  so I make my own beer, I love to drink beer, and I have made many recipes with beer as an ingredient. I think coming from Belgium it is obvious they use a good local beer in this recipe. I however have had some bad experiences using unique beers in cooking. I usually play it safe after wrecking an entire pot of chili using a Stout in it. The beer tasted great, just not in the chili. It became very bitter and unpalatable. It seems that I have my best luck sticking with some type of Lager in cooking. For this recipe I used a Yuengling and it turned out great. If you live in Michigan don’t go looking for a Yuengling, you can’t get it here. Just use a good quality Lager for this recipe.


3 slices of bacon

2 1/2 pounds boned chuck roast cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper to taste (I used about 12 turns on my mill)

3 garlic cloves

4 medium onions

8 ounces of fresh mushrooms chopped

3 tablespoons of flour

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of sugar 

1 teaspoon dried thyme

pinch of dried savory (winter if you have it, summer if you don’t)

pinch of dried marjoram (added towards the end of cooking) optional

10 1/2 ounce can of low sodium beef broth

1 12 ounce beer

1 or 2 bay leaves

1 to 2 tablespoons double strength tomato paste (the stuff in the squeeze tube)

1 pound of medium or large egg noodles


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Render the bacon in a dutch oven on the stove top until crispy, remove and crumble.  Sprinkle beef with the salt and pepper. Add the beef in batches making sure they brown and don’t steam (from crowding the pot). Remove the beef when browned and set aside. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan drippings and saute covered, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the beef, bacon and the rest of the ingredients except for the egg noodles (and marjoram if using) and bring to a boil. Cover, place into the oven and cook for 2 hours. If using the marjoram add about 1/2 hour before beef is done. Serve over the egg noodles and enjoy.

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