Make Ahead

Choucroute Soup with Knoedels

January 29, 2013
0 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • For the Soup
  • 3/4 pound sauerkraut
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into super thin ribs
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 8-9 cups beef broth
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the Knoedels
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 ounces Cream of Wheat (or farina)
  • 2-3 cups beef broth (or water)
  • A pinch of salt
  1. Rinse the sauerkraut well. Drain and set aside.
  2. Remove the sausage meat from the casing. Form tiny meatballs (about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in radius).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. While the soup is simmering, prepare the knoedels. In a small pot bring the broth (or water) to a gentle simmer.
  7. Beat the egg whites until firm. Slowly add the cream of wheat and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Season lightly with salt.
  8. 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.
  9. Pour the sauerkraut soup into the individual plates. Add the knoedels and then gently pour some more liquid from the soup. Serve immediately.
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  • Deborrah Bédard
    Deborrah Bédard
  • Dford
  • fiveandspice
  • Kukla
  • vrunka
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.

33 Reviews

Tad February 26, 2016
the soup was sour...daaaa, it's a sauerkraut soup. I used semolina for the knoedels and it gave me hard time not sticking together. First batch fell apart in the pot. I had to add significantly more semolina to the mixture to make it thicker. My soup was also kinda' pale compared to the picture above. It almost looks like there is some tomato in it. Overall a nice winter weather recipe, but it takes some more time and effort, because of the knoedels.
QueenSashy February 26, 2016
Tad, the key to noodles not falling apart is bare simmer. And yes, they require a little bit of tender loving care :) (Btw, I have not made them with semolina and cannot comment on the quantities.) My soup is also pale (check out the second picture). I think that the folks who photographed the recipe used spicy sausage with paprika :)
Susan September 4, 2013
QueenSashy September 4, 2013
Deborrah B. March 13, 2013
Is the cream of wheat cooked or uncooked when you fold it into egg whites? I'm new at this.
QueenSashy March 13, 2013
Uncooked. Don't worry, it's very simple. Cheers!
Dford March 13, 2013
My Great Grandmother from Austria/Hungary would add knoedels (she called it canadala) to her vegetable soup and it would soak up the layers of delicious flavors in the broth. With each ladle full, I would scoop out as many knoedels as I could without my Grandmother noticing. Eventually my "Grammy" caught on and would make me a separate bowl of these fluffy dumplings with butter and seasoning that I could add to my soup or eat separately. Congratulations and thanks for sharing this recipe. I can't wait to try it.
QueenSashy March 13, 2013
Ha ha ha - I used to do the same! Thanks so much for sharing the story.
fiveandspice March 7, 2013
Congratulations on the wild card! This brings back wonderful memories of learning to make knoedels from a friend's grandma in Germany. It was so fun. And this soup looks wonderful! I love anything with sauerkraut.
QueenSashy March 7, 2013
Thanks a lot fiveandspice. These are precious memories. I learned to make knoedels from my mom and grandmothers when I was tiny. It was like magic, you drop a spoon of a sticky/gluey mass into the soup and suddenly they turn into little clouds. I think this is the origin of my fascination with knoedels :)
Kukla March 6, 2013
Congratulations QS! I know how light and airy the cream of wheat and fluffy egg whites are making any dumplings; I even always add cream of wheat when making gnocchi.
QueenSashy March 7, 2013
Kukla, thank you for the comment and for the tip. Next time I make gnocchi I will definitely try it out.
Kendra A. March 6, 2013
Sounds delicious! But the HOW section says "Simmer sausage, sauerkraut, and seasonings in broth, and cook your knoedels right in with them," while the directions tell you to cook the knoedels separately in broth or water and then add them to the individual servings.
QueenSashy March 6, 2013
I usually reserve some broth (water works fine too) and make the knoedels separately. I have not tried making them in the soup, but do not see a reason not to, as long as the soup is at simmer, and you do not mind a thing or two floating around. (It obviously works, as the knoedels on the photo look lovely.)
Kendra A. March 7, 2013
Thanks for clarifying that! I look forward to trying the recipe soon.
vrunka March 6, 2013
wow, that really looks like delicious. A very well-deserved win!
QueenSashy March 6, 2013
Thank you!
lapadia March 6, 2013
Dumplings? Yes please, congrats on the WC!
QueenSashy March 6, 2013
Thanks a bunch lapadia!
hardlikearmour March 6, 2013
Congratulations! Love the dumplings!
QueenSashy March 6, 2013
I love them too, actually I love them the best in a good old chicken soup. Thanks a lot!
foxeslovelemons March 6, 2013
This looks filling, unique, and wonderful. Congrats ont he wildcard!
QueenSashy March 6, 2013
Thank you!
AntoniaJames March 6, 2013
Wow. Love it! All of my favorite winter foods, in one bowl. Love the bay + cumin + juniper berries. Must try. ;o)
QueenSashy March 6, 2013
Thanks a lot AJ! Sometimes when I am short on supplies, I skip the cumin or berries, but the bay is a must.
boulangere March 6, 2013
Congratulations to you. This looks fantastic!
QueenSashy March 6, 2013
Thank you!
localappetite February 5, 2013
I bet my grandpa would love this dish...he still talks about the "kneidelach" his mother made for soup, but these sound like they'd be so light and delicious.
QueenSashy February 5, 2013
Who knows, maybe these end up being your grandfather’s "kneidelach". They were a staple in my grandmother’s soup, and that’s how I learned how to make them. Sadly, they are almost forgotten today. If you end up making some for your grandfather, please let me know if he liked them.
aargersi January 30, 2013
I have never heard of knoedles but they sound terrific and I am 100% sure I would love this soup!
QueenSashy January 30, 2013
Knoedel are very German and central European thing... Actually, the proper spelling is Knödel. Sometimes they resemble dumplings, but often they are very different. They are typically made with bread or potatoes, but the ones made with egg whites and farina are my favorite - they are like little snowflakes in a soup! Definitely try them in a chicken soup -- it's wonderful!
inpatskitchen January 29, 2013
I love this!
QueenSashy January 29, 2013
Thank you!