Then today's very tasty creation was devised of odds and ends from the fridge that needed to be used up, and as I had a matinee theatre performance at Plattsburgh State to attend, I employed my trust crock pot. Thus, I give you...drumroll, please...sauerkraut soup! Savory and hearty stuff, and it made so much, that I will have plenty to take into work and share with my co-workers tomorrow...if the idea of sauerkraut soup doesn't frighten them away. Tee hee.
2 medium onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large red pepper, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 large carrots, large dice
2 parsnips, diced (optional)
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 lbs. sauerkraut, squeezed and drained (rinse it first, if you prefer)
2 quarts beef stock (or enough to fill your crock pot)
bunch of thyme, tied with kitchen twine
1 teaspoon pepper
salt, to taste
1 pound smoked kielbasa, sliced
In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon of bacon fat and cook the sliced mushrooms until tender and somewhat browned. Strain and add the cooked mushrooms to the crock pot. Melt the other two tablespoons of bacon fat, and saute the chopped onions, celery, and red pepper until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add all of these veggies to the crock pot. Then throw in the carrots, parsnips (if using), potatoes, sauerkraut, beef stock, thyme bundle, pepper and salt. Stir to combine, cover, and cook for 4-5 hours on high, or 8-10 hours on low.
When the soup is almost done, brown the sliced kielbasa in the skillet, then stir into the soup. Remove the thyme bundle, then serve the soup with an extra grinding of pepper, and a piece of buttered rye bread on the side.