If you’re in Poland on a trip, you’ll no doubt find a restaurant that serves Polish sauerkraut soup. I’m a big fan of sauerkraut so that’s why I love it and it’s incredibly good for your gut. If it isn’t your thing I totally understand, but if it is, you’ll love the recipe below. This post was originally posted on 1/2/14 and was updated on 12/10/19.
Enjoy this tasty and fantastic Kraków style Polish sauerkraut soup recipe that was inspired by our trip to Poland.
- 2 lb small rib pieces of pork, fat trimmed
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion with peel
- 2 ribs celery
- Sprig of parsley
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cups of sliced brown mushrooms (dried imported wild mushrooms are even better - soak 20-30 mins and then and boil them in a small amount of water before adding them to the soup)
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 lbs of fermented sauerkraut (German sauerkraut is the best) drained.
- 2 cups of boiled and sliced potatoes (Since they will simmer in the soup they don't need to be completely done)
- 6 strips of bacon (optional) or substitute 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil
- ½ of a 2 foot smoked Kielbasa sausage cubed (optional)
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp of ground allspice
- Brown the small rib pieces of pork.
- Add the rib pieces to a large saucepan and cover with water.
- Add 2 carrots, 1 unpeeled onion, 2 stalks of celery, parsley, salt and pepper to taste
- Bring to a boil and simmer for several hours.
- After the broth has cooled put it through a sieve and set aside.
- (if you don't want to make homemade broth, use 48 oz store-bought meat or vegetable broth.
- Fry the bacon strips in a skillet until the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon and set them on paper towels. Leave the drippings in the skillet. (If you prefer not to use bacon, simply heat the olive oil in the skillet instead)
- When the bacon is cool chop it into bacon bits.
- Saute the onions, mushrooms, and sauerkraut until the onions are translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute
- Take the onions, mushrooms, sauerkraut and garlic off the heat and set the mixture aside.
- Add the broth, allspice, and pepper
- Add the boiled and sliced potatoes
- Add the Kielbasa and bacon bits (or leave out if you prefer vegetarian)
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook on low for about 30 minutes or more.
- Lastly, add the onions, mushrooms, sauerkraut, and garlic back into the pot and cook until heated.
Also, I originally added a sprinking of caraway seeds but was told that caraway was more Czech than Polish. However, according to a reader, caraway helps cut the gas. Add it if you like. I personally love it.
Why Polish sauerkraut soup is good for your tummy
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, help your body build immunity and can protect you from becoming ill. The fermentation process develops healthy bacteria (probiotics) in your gut that fights against bad bacteria. Eating fermented foods regularly keeps your body balanced and functioning properly. Sauerkraut as well as plain yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, pickles, and kombucha all help aid digestion. Make sure to add at least a few fermented foods to your diet.
Note: Even though this traditional Polish recipe is made with bits of meat, you can make a vegetarian version by substituting olive oil and adding vegetables like celery and carrots instead. Either way, it will be delicious.
You may also enjoy: Eating Polish Style in Bydgoszcz, Poland
The inspiration for this recipe started with an organ concert in Kraków
During our trip, we stayed in the old town of Kraków. We were looking for things to do in the evening while we were there so I went on the Internet and found a free organ concert that was taking place that evening at the Kraków Academy of Music. Doug is obsessed with organ music so we had to go. The Kraków Academy of Music was founded in 1888 and is located just outside the old city gates and within walking distance of our hotel, the Holiday Inn in Krakow City Center.
But first, we needed to fill our bellies and wet our whistle
In our zeal to attend the concert, we arrived too early so we decided to walk find someplace to have a snack. We found a pub down the street from the Academy of Music called “The Dog in the Fog.” It looked cozy and rustic and because it was winter we thought it would be a nice place to warm up.
We’re also dog fanatics so how could we resist?
The pub appeared to be popular with students who attended several of the schools near the old town square. We sat down to have a glass of beer and I ordered a bowl of Sauerkraut soup. It was a tantalizing concoction of sauerkraut, potatoes, and Polish sausage. I vowed to find a way to replicate it and think I did a pretty good job.
Music is a universal language
After thoroughly enjoying our soup and beer we headed back to the Academy of Music to listen to the concert. No one spoke English so we couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but that didn’t matter because the talented students of the Academy performed beautifully. It was a delightful way to spend the evening and take part in the local culture.
Old Kraków is not to be missed if you’re in Poland
If you’ve never been to old Kraków, it’s an amazingly beautiful and huge medieval city that thankfully survived WWII when most of Poland was destroyed. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 7th century. Most of Poland’s most prestigious artists and academics got their start there and it’s where archbishop Karol Wojtyła was elevated to the position of Pope of the Catholic Church. The oldest school in Poland, the Jagiellonian University, is located in Kraków and was founded in 1364 by Casimir the Great.
Have you ever tried Polish sauerkraut soup? Please leave a comment below.