If you thought a book about pickled and fermented stuff would be all kimchi and kombucha, you might be right. But if you pick up Cultured Foods For Your Kitchen by culinary specialist and cookbook author Leda Schientaub, you'll be presently surprised by meaty soups, hearty pastas and delicious fried stuff…all enhanced by the cultured ingredients in your pantry and fridge (or the ones you make yourself).
Sauerkraut soup is a dish with eastern European roots, a hearty cold weather soup making use of ingredients that have been preserved for winter use. I've added squash to keep with the wintry theme, along with warming coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves–and hot Italian sausage for extra thermal effects. You could use any other type of winter squash in place of the butternut, if you like; delicata and red or green kuri make excellent choices.
- 3 tablepoons extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces hot Italian sausage (3 sausages), sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 small butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 4 cups)
- splash of white wine (optional)
- 6 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth
- fine sea salt
- 2 cups sauerkraut, chopped, with brine (plus more brine if needed)
- fresh lemon juice if needed
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the sausage and brown it, about 5 minutes on each side.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pan and put it on a plate.
- Add the leeks to the fat in the pan (add a little oil if the pan looks dry) and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until softened.
- Add the paprika, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and cook for about 1 minute, stirring, until the spices are aromatic.
- Add the squash and sauté for about 2 minutes, until well coated with the spices.
- Add the wine, if using (if you're not using wine, add a splash of broth) and stir to release any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the broth and a pinch of salt.
- Increase the heat to medium- high, partially cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the squash has softened.
- Coarsely mash some of the squash with a potato masher, turn off the heat, uncover the pan and leave it for 5 minutes, then stir in the sauerkraut.
- Taste and add a little sauerkraut brine or salt if needed; if you'd like a little extra brightness without salting the soup, add a splash of lemon juice. Stir in the parsley and serve.
Find more fall soup recipes on Food Republic: