With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve been cooking up a storm! For this year’s Christmas menu, I thought why not feature cuisine from one of the Christmas capitals of the world: Germany. For inspiration, I conducted “research” by eating lots of German food at the Bavarian Inn in Eureka Springs, Arkansas over Thanksgiving. There, I was introduced to the unique sauerkraut soup—I admit I was skeptical at first, but my skepticism quickly faded after the first slurp. The soup was almost like a German version of French onion soup. The broth is clear and full of sauteed onions. I thought having sauerkraut in the soup would make it taste pickled, but to my surprise, it didn’t taste pickled at all. If anything, the sauerkraut added sodium and texture to the dish. The dish is so popular at the restaurant, they make it seven days a week!
Back in my Texas kitchen, I set to work at re-creating the soup. The recipe I found online was much heartier than the dish I’d had in Arkansas as an appetizer. The recipe I used called for bratwurst and potatoes, making the dish a meal in itself. It is a spectacular dish that even sauerkraut haters will enjoy! Prost!
Sauerkraut Soup from The Bavarian Inn (pictured below)
The Bavarian Plate from The Bavarian Inn (pictured below). This dish has bratwurst, smoked pork slices, and sauerkraut and is served with herbed potato pancakes.
Prep time: 30 mins
Slow Cooker time: 6-6 1/2 hrs on low heat or 3-3 1/2 hours on high heat
1 pound uncooked bratwurst, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 pound tiny new red potatoes,quartered
2 small onions, cut into 1/4-inch wedges or coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 14 1/2 – ounce can Bavarian-style sauerkraut, drained
2 14 1/2 – ounce cans lower-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
Sour cream (optional)
In a large skillet, cook bratwurst slices over medium-high heat until browned, about 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Then remove from skillet and set aside.
In a 4 or 5-quart slow cooker, combine potatoes, onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, browned bratwurst, and sauerkraut.
In a large bowl, whisk together the beef broth, mustard, vinegar, paprika, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat for 6-6 1/2 hours or on high heat for 3-3 1/2 hours. Before serving, discard the bay leaves and add sour cream (if desired).
Adapted from http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/slow-cooker-brat-and-sauerkraut-soup/.