Choucroute, sauerkraut, sûrkrût, sour cabbage, kiseo kupus, kislaya kapusta… I love it in any language, in any dialect and any dish. It is traditionally served with pork or sausages, and accompanied with steamed potatoes or dumplings (knoedels). This soup is a tribute to all the wonderful choucroute dishes, or as my dad would say “a choucroute in a bowl”. —QueenSashy
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: QueenSashy is a scientist from New York City.
WHAT: An ode to classic choucroute dishes -- sauerkraut served with pork and potatoes -- re-imagined in soup form.
HOW: Simmer sausage, sauerkraut, and seasonings in broth, and cook your knoedels right in with them.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This soup has a pleasantly sour kick that we love -- plus, studded with sausage meatballs and dumplings, it's a bowl that's fun to dive into. These knoedels are a noble end to that box of cream of wheat languishing in your pantry. —The Editors
For the Soup
sweet Italian sausage
medium yellow onion, sliced into super thin ribs
Remove the sausage meat from the casing. Form tiny meatballs (about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in radius).
Cover the bottom of a large skillet in oil. Add the sausage balls and sauté until nicely browned. Remove the sausage balls from the skillet and discard the fat.
Cover the bottom of a large soup pot with oil. Add the onions and sauté until soft, for about three to four minutes. Add the garlic and cumin seeds and sauté for another minute or two, until very fragrant.
Add the sauerkraut to the pot, cover with the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the sausage meatballs, bay leaves and juniper berries, and simmer partially covered for about an hour. When the soup is done, season with pepper (and if needed, with salt. I often find that both sauerkraut and sausage are seasoned well enough that no more salt is needed, but eventually it is up to you).
While the soup is simmering, prepare the knoedels. In a small pot bring the broth (or water) to a gentle simmer.
Beat the egg whites until firm. Slowly add the cream of wheat and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Season lightly with salt.
Spoon about ¾ tablespoon of mixture per knoedel into the broth. Make sure that the broth maintains at simmer, otherwise the knoedels will fall apart. (You may want to make the knoedles in batches without overcrowding the pot, as the knoedels will expand slightly.) After three to four minutes, gently turn the knoedles and continue to simmer for another three to four minutes. Remove the knoedels from the broth.
Pour the sauerkraut soup into the individual plates. Add the knoedels and then gently pour some more liquid from the soup. Serve immediately.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.