Saturday, November 29, 2008

Souper Saturday

Soup, soup. I had planned to make myself a luxe crab soup of some sorts, but the cold killed my taste buds for most of the week as well as seriously curbing my appetite. The latter is a good thing. So no crab soup was cooked tho I may take half of the sauted crab and make dh a Maryland Crab Soup in a day or so when he gets back home.

Sauerkraut Soup

What I did eat this week was a poofed...pulled from the freezer...container of Lithuanian Sauerkraut Soup. This is one that doesn't always look enticing tho it really is delicious. DH will eat it but isn't wild about sauerkraut. No Lithuanian blood in that boy! The sourness mostly cooks away but being a person who likes sour and tart, I'm glad for what's left. While this recipe calls for pork, I know how many recipes substitute turkey for pork these days, so here's another one where you can use that turkey carcass. You have my blessing. I suspect the ancient Nanas of the world would make you call it Lithuanian-American Sauerkraut soup instead of kapusta, but that's minor. Just try it. It's hearty and makes a sick woman feel almost well.

SOUP Lithuanian Sauerkraut Soup

• 4 or 5 spare ribs (try a meaty turkey or chicken carcass)
• 1 diced onion (medium or large)
• A few bay leaves
• Peppercorns to taste (I use 5 to 10)
• Quart or large bag of sauerkraut (not rinsed)
• 1/2 fresh cabbage - shredded (optional)
• 1 can of diced tomatoes (soup sized can)
• 1 garlic clove
• Mushrooms (optional)

Cut up a 1/2 slab of ribs and brown the spare ribs in a bit of any oil or crisco. This browning is optional. Cover the ribs well with water; add bay leaves, garlic, several peppercorns and the diced onion. Cook the ribs until very soft. I always use a pressure cooker since it's a time saver. But this isn't necessary.
When the ribs are cooked, remove the meat from the rib bone and cut into pieces and put back into the pot. Leave the "ribs water" and add the sauerkraut and also some shredded fresh cabbage. This fresh is optional but really stretches the soup in case you don't have a lot of kraut on hand and it tastes good, too! Add the can of diced tomatoes and some sliced mushrooms. If you’re lucky enough to have some wild mushrooms around, they're wonderful in any "kapusta" dish. Add more water if necessary for the soup consistency you like.

This soup can be made from any cut of fresh pork that you have on hand. It's best to use something that has a bone. So, even if all you have is a pork chop and a little bit of kraut in the fridge - you can make a small pot of soup for yourself.

One special old time favorite is to have some chilled, whole boiled potatoes on the side. The hot soup and cold potatoes complement each other. ( I find this idea vile but then I'm born and bread East Coast American.)

I realize this is a loosly described recipe. But kapusta soup is something you can't screw up. The strong flavor of the kraut takes care of any sins along the way. I hope someone has some new ideas for this soup.
Recipe by: Helen

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