Czech Heritage · My Roots

Sauerkraut Soup

My Czech roots are precious to me and this week I enjoyed a hearty stock of Sauerkraut Soup.  This recipe was one of two recipes my Mother made and she was given this recipe by our dear Bohemian friend, Blanche.

I understand that many families serve a Sauerkraut Soup as a traditional Christmas Eve meal but I enjoy it anytime!

After the rich, sweet treats of the holidays, the hearty sauerkraut soup was a welcome change allowing me to walk down memory lane once again.

SAUERKRAUT SOUP

1 pint sauerkraut (add extra caraway seed if desired)
1 cup finely diced ham
1 quart cooked and drained diced potatoes
1 quart Milk (more or less)
chunk butter
1 egg yolk
1 heaping tablespoon of flour
salt and pepper
dill weed garnish (optional)

  • Put enough water on sauerkraut to simmer slowly with ham.
  • When tender, pour milk over and a chunk of butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Break egg yolk into small bowl and whisk.
  • Add flour and mix together.
  • Drop small pieces of the dough into the soup until cooked through, 10-15 minutes.
  • Add cooked, drained potatoes to the soup.
  • Heat until low boil. Serve or cool to serve next day. The flavor is even better the next day!
Family Favorites

Potato Bacon Chowder…perfect comfort food

Potato Bacon Chowder is a favorite that my sister, Carolyn, shared with me a few years ago.  She has often served this on Christmas Eve. It is wonderful for a quick lunch or dinner giving us that warm, cozy comfort food we crave this time of year.  So simple, so good.  Enjoy!

POTATO BACON CHOWDER

8 slices bacon (cut up)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)

  • Fry bacon until crisp in a 3 quart saucepan; add onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Pour off fat.
  • Add potatoes and water. Bring to boil; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Stir in soup and sour cream; gradually add milk. Add salt, pepper and parsley.
  • Heat to serving temperature. Do not boil.
Family Favorites · My Roots

Traditional Midwest Red Chili

Cold weather means it’s chili time! My mother’s traditional red chili is still a favorite of mine, but I confess I now used canned, diced or crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes.

When I was a child, the only thing served with chili was saltines.  Who knew there were so many ways to serve Chili (or is it Chile?).

Red Chile (4)

Now I have been awakened the versatility of chili and how to serve it. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Chili served on top a baked potato with shredded cheese (add sour cream if desired)
  • Chili served on top of a half of peeled and seeded avocado
  • Chili with crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, green onions
  • Chili with cornbread
  • Chili on top of hot dogs with onion

    Red Chili on baked potato with grated cheese

What are unique ways that you serve chili?

Today, I am sharing my Mother’s chili recipe. Add as much chili powder or crushed peppers as desired and enjoy!

MOM’S RED CHILI

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 can chili beans
1 quart tomatoes (I prefer crushed)
1 tablespoon sugar
chili powder to taste
salt & pepper

  • Brown and drain hamburger. Add onions and cook until tender.
  • Add rest of ingredients and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Red Chili simmers
  • Serve naked (as is) or with chopped onions, cheese, tortilla chips, crackers or try one of the versions listed above.
Family · Family Favorites · My Roots

Kumla…not your ordinary dumpling

My Mother was very adventurous in her rural Iowa kitchen.  She loved to cook traditional Bohemian dishes from my Father’s family; German, Dutch and Norwegian dishes from friends and family.

I don’t know where my Mother discovered Kumla but it is a hearty dish that will warm the cockles of your heart.  A mandatory nap following consumption of Kumla may be appropriate.  It all begins with homemade ham broth.  Potato dumplings are made from raw, grated potatoes and boiled in the broth.  Traditionally, the dumplings are dipped in a dollop of butter.

While I have eaten Kumla for 50+ years, I did not know the history.  After surfing the web, I learned it is a traditional Swedish/Norwegian dish often served during the holidays with butter or with lingonberry.

KUMLA

peeled potatoes, ground with fine grinder
salt
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
flour

  • Place ham in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer the ham about 2 hours. Remove the ham, and skim any foam off the broth.  I like to cool and the refrigerate the broth overnight and skim off any fat before proceeding.
  • Finely grate or grind potatoes. Sprinkle well with salt and work through potatoes. Let set 5-10 minutes. Press moisture out by placing potato mixture into a sieve to remove the starch. Discard starch.
Kumla–grating the potatoes
  • Add egg and baking powder. Work in all the flour that you can until firm and not sticky.
Kumla–roll into small balls
  • Drop by teaspoon full in boiling ham broth in heavy metal pot. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Test Kumla by cutting one in half.
  • Serve hot. Traditionally we dip dumplings in butter. Even better when they are warmed up!

Perhaps Kumla will become a favorite for your family!  If you are already a Kumla lover, what is your story?