The idea of putting sauerkraut into a soup may at first elicit a gasp of horror from the uninitiated, but don't be so hasty! Take a moment, get a grip on your quaking stomach, and read further. Although it may seem an unlikely candidate as anything other than a topping for bratwurst, sauerkraut gives a nice subdued tang to this hearty soup, and adds interest to what might otherwise be a bland group of ingredients.

1 lb sauerkraut
6 c beef stock
2 onions, chopped
3 slices bacon
1 ts paprika
1 tb tomato paste
1/2 ts caraway seeds
salt,pepper, and dill to taste
2 large potatoes, peeled, sliced, and soaked
1/4 lb diced cooked ham
2 bratwurst, cooked and sliced

Put 3 cups of the beef stock in a medium/large pot, add the sauerkraut, and simmer for 30 minutes. In a skillet, sauté the onions with the bacon until they are golden. Let this mixture sit to the side until the stock and sauerkraut is done simmering. Add the paprika, remaining stock, tomato paste, and caraway seeds to the stock and sauerkraut pot. Then add the bacon and onions, and the drained potatoes, and simmer the whole concoction for 30 minutes. Add the bratwurst and ham, and simmer another 15 minutes or until the meat is heated through. Add more stock if necessary to adjust the consistency.

The recipe above makes a medium sized pot of soup, but doubles, triples, etc. pretty gracefully. Like most soups, this one can be adjusted to allow for personal taste. If you love 'kraut, put a bit more in! If you hate the thought of bratwurst (shame on you!), use a different sausage or meat. I personally enjoy putting some beer in the stock, or adding some chopped vegetables and peppers to liven the recipe up and make the soup more colorful.

Sauerkraut soup reheats extremely well, and some (*cough*) even prefer it a day or two old. If you hate and loathe sauerkraut, you will probably hate and loathe this soup. If, however, you have even a moderate liking for sauerkraut, you will probably be making kettles of it and doing handsprings for joy!*

*Handspringing ability not guaranteed or covered by warantee.

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