Sauerkraut Soup with Beets & Beef
for the soup:
- 2 lb roasted beets
- 24 oz jar sauerkraut
- 1/4 small cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 lb stew meat
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- sour cream
- Place all ingredients in a 4 or 6-quart slow cooker. Stir.
- Cook on low 8-10 hrs. Stir. Serve hot, garnished with sour cream.
- If using canned or bagged sauerkraut, you may need to drain or rinse it. I find that jarred sauerkraut is fairly dry and less salty. I used the German-style from Aldi.
- Want extra credit? Make your own sauerkraut and use that instead of prepared.
- I used a mix of Chioggia and red beets but any beet would work! The redder the beet, the redder the soup.
- I roasted my beets using this method the day before and refrigerated them overnight but pre-cooked beets (like Love Beets--I buy these at Costco in bulk, they have amazing expiration dates and are vacuumed sealed) work well too.
Somehow over the course of the last year or so I ended up with six jars of sauerkraut. It was like I had some mental block that prevented me from picking up a jar every time I saw them at Aldi. These are big jars too! I think I had in the back of my head that I wanted to make this sauerkraut soup again (I can’t believe that was 2012!?) which uses a lot of sauerkraut and just kept buying them. Luckily sauerkraut has a shelf life of like three years.
I’ve been getting my local produce delivery even though not much is in season here (normally I let it lapse in the fall and pick it up in late spring) and ended up with an assortment of beets. I thought about making hearty beef borscht and then I remembered all that sauerkraut. Why not combine the two? Why not, indeed.
I googled it to see if it was already a popular soup (it sure seems like it should be somewhere cold) and couldn’t find any real mentions of it. Lots of beef borscht (I made some back in March), lots of cabbage in borscht, a few sauerkraut soups but none that tied them all together. Until now.
Honestly, we loved this soup. It was super easy to make, richly flavored, literally packed with vegetables and filling yet oddly not heavy. What else do you want on a cold winter’s night? Maybe some butter and bread on the side but really this is enough. If you like even one ingredient in this soup, you should make it. It was a real unexpected delight.