New Recipe: Polish Sauerkraut Soup with Pork Ribs {Kwaśnica}

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Polish Sauerkraut Soup with Pork Ribs {Kwaśnica}

If you’ve ever traveled to Poland in the wintertime you will know that this season can be long, gray and gloomy. It isn’t light out until 8 am, and it gets dark around 3:30 pm and sometimes we don’t see the sun for days, or weeks even. We don’t get much snow where I live and it’s not super cold, but just cold enough to feel it’s winter. This year we are “blessed” with this kind of winter (so far), bleh.

I’m trying to survive this depressing time by cooking up a lot of hearty soups and stews. The kind that warm you to the core and make you take your outer layer off :). Today, it’s a thick and meaty soup that originated in the Polish mountains called kwaśnica [kvah-shnee-tsah]. The name of it refers to its taste, kwaśny means sour, so the soup is supposed to be smoky from the smoked ribs or bacon, thick and sour with chunks of potatoes in it. I like to eat it with fresh, crusty bread.

Here it is, doesn’t it look delicious?! It’s a whole meal in a bowl.

Polish Sauerkraut Soup with Pork Ribs {Kwaśnica}

Polish Sauerkraut Soup with Pork Ribs {Kwaśnica}

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2.5-3 hours

Ingredients

  • About 2 lbs / 900 g of raw pork baby back ribs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil or lard
  • 2 ½ qts / 2 ½ l of water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 10 whole peppercorns and allspice berries (each)
  • About 1 lb / 500 g of smoked pork ribs or bacon*
  • About 1 lb / 500 g of raw potatoes
  • One 14 oz / 400 g of sauerkraut
  • 1 tbsp of dried marjoram

Instructions

  1. Wash raw pork ribs, pat dry and slice into individual ribs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  2. In a large stockpot, heat oil / lard. When ready, gently place each rib into hot oil, making sure there is enough room around it to brown (work in batches, if necessary). Brown ribs for a few minutes on each side. They do not have to cook through, just get a nice color.

  3. Once browned, remove and add the next batch. Once all pieces are browned, return to pot, add water, crushed garlic cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and allspice berries. Bring to boil, turn heat down and simmer on low for about 1 hour (until meat is tender).

  4. In the meantime, cut smoked ribs / bacon into 1 inch / 3 centimeter chunks, also peel and dice potatoes, then keep in cold water until later.

  5. When pork is tender, add smoked rib / bacon chunks and diced potatoes to the stock. Let simmer for another 30 minutes (until smoked ribs / bacon are soft).

  6. Finally, add sauerkraut (with juices) add marjoram and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until kraut is cooked.

  7. Serve with crusty bread, bacon, ribs and all!

* you can use leftover smoked ribs, if not too sweet. You can also substitute smoked ribs for smoked pork belly/bacon. Find a good quality pork belly/bacon though, best if whole, not sliced.

** you can make your own, my recipe here. If you are using store bought cabbage, pay attention to the ingredients list on the can and buy only the one that lists cabbage, salt and water. Yes, you can find those in most American grocery stores. I used one can in this recipe, but if you like your soup super thick/sour, you may add 2-14 oz cans into the broth.

Hope you enjoy!

Smacznego!

Anna


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5 Comments

  1. Hi, Anna. Have just seen your blog.
    We’re from England and my wife and her friends are going to Warsaw for a long weekend.
    I have made bigos for them when they come for dinner on Friday to finalise travel plans.
    I have never made Polish dishes before, so I am looking forward to trying some of yours!
    Thanks and regards,
    Craig.

  2. I am a third generation Polish American. I have three recipes that I can trace back to Poland that were handed down. Chicken noodle soup, Cabbage soup, and dumpling. The dumpling do not have measurement just 5 eggs and 5 half egg shells full of water with flour, how neat is that! The Cabbage soup that I grow up on is so similar to this receipt but a lot simpler. A quart of sauerkraut with spare ribs adding water to cover, sparkling some barley, salt and pepper and cook. OMG it is so good! We do make out own sauerkraut too. I never use store bough, it is just not the same!

  3. I grew up with my family making something similar to this. They used sauerkraut, ribs, lima beans, and browned flour to thicken it. It was a staple for the holiday, and I want to make it but I do not know how. Have you ever made this before?

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