“Kapusta” is Slavic for cabbage. The origin for this recipe is Polish / Ukrainian / Russian. There are many variations; some made with stock simmered from spare rib bones, others with pork chops. It is traditionally served over Christmas or Easter. I’ve had it in a local restaurant and it remains one of my favorite soups. The tangy, smokey flavor is unbeatable. Simmer it very low to allow the flavors to incorporate. Great for long winter nights – this recipe defines comfort food. Even better reheated the second day.
1 head of red or white cabbage, washed cored and chopped
1 28 oz. jar Frank’s® sauerkraut, drained
1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 Hillshire Farms® Polska Kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2″ chunks
4 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
2 ribs celery, sliced fine
2 tbs. pearl barley
1 generous dollop of sour cream (about 1/4 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the cubed bacon in a large, heavy stock pot. Heat to medium-high and cook until partially browned. Add the onion. Stir and cook until lightly carmelized. Add the cubed sausage. Stir and cook until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium. Add the kraut, diced cabbage and crushed whole tomatoes. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a very low simmer.
Add the mashed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Watch the amount of salt because the kraut already has plenty. Add the pearl barley. Partially cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
After an hour, add the sliced celery and sour cream. Stir well and simmer for another hour, adding water as necessary. The consistency should not be thick.
If you need to thicken it up, you may form a roux by taking a cup of stock from the pot and combine it with two tbs. flour. Mix well and add back to the pot, ensuring you don’t have lumps.
Serve with a nice crusty bread and salad.
Note: This recipe is NOT intended for a slow cooker.
Due to the acidity of the kraut and tomatoes, it will wreak havoc on the finish of cast-iron pots. For this reason they are not recommended.