Czech and Slovak heritage is of great interest to me, given my Father’s family roots. Late 2020, I participated in ‘Czech & Slovak Christmas’ offered through Global Slovakia Academy. It was a wonderful class, offering education of the Slovak advent and holidays, celebrations and food.
One of the recipes shared was this Slovak Christmas Sauerkraut Soup. It is traditionally made for Christmas Eve. I was not willing to wait until next December to make the soup! The ingredients are things our ancestors would have had on hand: wild dried mushrooms, sauerkraut, smoked sausage, etc.
I love to tweek recipes and decided to add homemade egg noodles for the last hour of cooking and loved the addition. The soup was thick enough, so I chose not to add the flour and additional water. This is a hearty soup and great paired with a hearty roll or rye bread.
SLOVAK CHRISTMAS SAUERKRAUT SOUP
1 package (32 oz) sauerkraut
2 quarts chicken or beef broth
6 whole black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
2 cups of dried wild mushrooms
1 klobásaor chorizo (Note: I used Kielbasa)
½ cup pitted prunes
1 large onion chopped
3 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Optional: 2 tbsp plain flour and 1 cup water
Salt and pepper
Optional: I added homemade egg noodles to the soup about an hour before serving
- If you are not keen on the sour flavor of the sauerkraut, you can wash it before proceeding with the recipe. However, we do recommend keeping it as it is – this is when it contains the most goodness and gives the iconic flavor and smell to the soup. Fry the onion in a large pot over medium heat. Traditionally, Christmas Eve dinner was strictly meat-free. Leave klobása out if you wish to stick with the tradition.
- Place the sauerkraut, broth, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt and mushrooms into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the sausage, prunes, and paprika. Lower the heat to gentle simmer and allow to cook for at least 2 hours. Our grandmas used to set the soup on lowest heat and keep it simmering until dinner time. It fills the entire house with quintessentially Slovak Christmas smell. (Note: I simmered the soup on low for 4 hours).
- Remove the bay leaves from the soup and discard. Season to taste. Serve.