Veselka’s Cabbage Soup

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

During my last trip to New York City, I learned two very important lessons. The first is to never look up and take in the sights while walking, because you will step in an absurd amount of dog poop. The second is that I have not been eating enough sauerkraut. I will not tell you how many Reuben sandwiches I ate, but I will say that I realized on Reuben number four that the tangy, salty crunch of the sauerkraut really made the sandwich.

In my hopes of sharing my newfound love of sauerkraut, I bring you Veselka’s Cabbage Soup. It is a very simple dish that takes a pretty straightforward pork and vegetable soup and turns it into something beautiful.

The sauerkraut brightens up the soup, while the hours of simmering add a fantastic depth to the dish. Just as a heads up, it takes about three-and-a-half to four hours to make from start to finish. The majority of the time is inactive, which gives you plenty of time to study while it bubbles away on the stove.

Veselka’s Cabbage Soup

(Adapted from New York Magazine)

  • 1 pound pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into small cubes

  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

  • 4 cups water

  • 3 allspice berries

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram

  • 1 cup sauerkraut, plus around 4 tablespoons juice

  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced

  • 2 carrots, minced

  • 3 stalks celery, minced

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 2 cups fresh cabbage, shredded thin

This makes enough for a main course for 6 to 8 people. Toss the pork in a large stockpot with the chicken stock, water, allspice berries, bay leaves and marjoram. Bring it to a boil and then simmer on low heat for about two hours. Remove the pork and set aside on a plate to cool. Skim fat from stock, leaving a few droplets of fat for flavor.

Add the sauerkraut and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the potato and simmer for five minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and cabbage and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pork and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the sauerkraut juice just before serving.