Saturday, March 7, 2009

Kiszona Kapusta Zupa (Polish for Sauerkraut Soup)

My great-grandmother could not read or write, but she could cook the best tasting dish over and over again! In Poland, she cooked for the rich. Here in the United States, she cooked for us! Living next door to my grandparents, every holiday there would be a pot of soup waiting for the rest of the meal to be ready to eat. My job for many holidays was to go next door and get the pot of soup. Little did I know that I was learning how to cook the way my great-grandmother cooked—with her nose! I’m not a “taster” cook. When I cook, there is always a certain “smell” that I try to create. This soup recipe was not right until my house smelled exactly as I remember my great babcia’s house did when she made kiszona kapusta zupa!

Category: Meat (Pork), Soup
Prep Time: Approximately 2 Hours
Cooking Style: Stovetop (16 quart pot. If you don’t have a pot this big, you can cut the recipe in half)
Complexity: Easy
Servings: Many-I make this big batch and give some to friends and freeze the extra. It freezes well.
Date: March 7, 2009



Small Green Cabbage

Halve and then cut thin strips that look like spaghetti.




See my SMART POINTS below. Don’t rinse your sauerkraut or discard the juice.



Salt Pork (12 oz package)

Cut into 1/4” cubes. Fillet off and discard the rind.

1 1/2


Pork Loin (Pork chops, pork roast, or country style pork strips are good as well)

Cut into strips about 1/4”, 2-3” Length.



Freshly Ground Pepper



Chicken Bouillon Cubes



Bay Leaves




Regular barley (Not quick cook)


  1. Throughout the cooking process, stir frequently.
  2. Brown the salt pork in the soup pot. Stir continuously so as to not burn the salt pork. It has enough natural fat, so you don’t need anything to keep it from sticking.
  3. To the pot, add 9 quarts of water, the bouillon cubes, the bay leaves, and pork. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface and discard.
  4. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  5. Add the cabbage and continue simmering another 20 minutes. Don’t worry about the cabbage disinergrating. Cabbage has a high water content. The flavor from the cabbage is going into the broth.
  6. Add the sauerkraut and barley and simmer another 30 minutes or until the barley is soft.
  7. Remove the pot from the burner and let sit about 30 minutes before serving.

Serve with some fresh bread or some saltine crackers. Some people like to serve this soup over cooked potatoes, too! It’s great as is!


Shef D


My grandfather taught me how to make sauerkraut from cabbage just like the generations before him. This soup is awesome with sauerkraut from my basement, but not everyone has access to my basement. As a substitute, I checked on the internet and found what other sauerkraut connoisseurs use for their favorite sauerkraut dish and this is what I found:

Of course you can use any of your favorite brand of sauerkraut, but the soup will be best with sauerkraut made in the old world, European style. I found doing a search online that Gundelsheimer Barrel Sauerkraut is a favorite of many:

Gundelsheimer Barrel Sauerkraut 28.5 oz (It’s available from many online sources if you search the internet).

I see Vlasic makes a Polish style sauerkraut that’s available from Meijer. I personally have not tried either the Vlasic or Gundelsheimer. Gudelsheimer’s is highly recommended on the internet. I’ve used Vlasic Old Fashioned sauerkraut with satisfactory results.

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