A good healthy seasonal recipe from a personal chef colleague
I started my personal chef career with membership in, training and support from The Personal Chefs Network. Sadly, this wonderful organization is now defunct, which is a whole other story. One of the great benefits was our online forum, part of which was a recipe exchange/posting site. You name it, you could find a recipe for it there. Fortunately, many of the recipes live on in online and paper files all over the world. Many of us are still in contact through other chef associations and on Facebook so there is still much sharing of those recipes. This is one of them, came from Gretchen Petery of Washington.
Cabbage is a good winter food. I can buy it in the farmers’ markets here all winter. And sauerkraut is an excellent way to eat cabbage and I can also buy it at the market. This jar came from a store but it is the same sauerkraut. Thank you Farmhouse Cultures of Santa Cruz. Indigenous cultures ( pun intended) all over the world know that fermenting a food increases its quality and nutritional value as well as the length of the food’s life for storage purposes. People all over the world drink fermented beverages. The Koreans are famous for fermenting cabbage and other vegetables ( traditionally underground) to become kimchi. This form of cabbage is European in origin, sauerkraut. Fermented foods are good for us as they can aid and improve digestion, and boost our immune systems in the process.
Cream of Sauerkraut Soup
3 slices thick bacon ( please please use pasture raised, no additives)
1 medium onion
2 ( or more) stalks of celery with tops
16oz. jar of sauerkraut
32 oz. chicken broth or stock
1 bay leaf
32 oz half and half, or 16-24 oz full raw cream is my recommendation
salt and pepper to taste
In stock pot, cook bacon over med/high heat until crispy. While Bacon is cooking, finely chop the onion and celery. ( you could use the food processor) When bacon is crisp, remove, drain, and crumble. Add onion and celery to the pot and saute in the bacon drippings until tender. Meanwhile, drain and rinse sauerkraut. ( I skipped this step, there wasn’t much liquid and I wanted to add it to the soup) Finely chop the sauerkraut ( again you could use the processor and again I did not. I wanted more texture) When the onion and celery are tender, add the sauerkraut, chicken broth, and bay leaf. Cook on a low heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add half and half, or cream, and bring back up to a serving temperature. To serve, ladle into individual bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and some crumbled bacon. Season as desired with salt and pepper. ( I opted to not use bacon and made some meatballs out of a mix of equal amounts of ground pork and turkey thigh, mustard, pepper, 1 egg, 1/4c. brown rice crumbs. The sauerkraut I used had caraway seeds in it, so I added a tsp. of caraway seeds to the soup broth.
Creamy, decadent but earthy, comfort food for a chilly winter supper.