- Sour cherry jam
But honestly, especially after letting it sit overnight and eating it in Leftovers-for-Lunch form... it might also be one of the surprisingly yummiest.
This was inspired by a dish from Clifford Wright's The Best Soups in the World . It's an interpretation of a Belorussian (srsly... I didn't even know there was such a thing as Belorussian cuisine) dish. I skipped the bake-in-the-oven-for-an-hour step, choosing instead the simmer-for-half-an-hour-on-the-stovetop copout. And yeah, we still didn't eat 'til almost eleven. I apparently have a problem with making dinner in a timely fashion.
I also used diced peppered bacon instead of undiced rendered pork lard and my friend Rachel's highly nomzable sour cherry jam (happy birthday, Rachel!) instead of plum jam, which WTF that crap is nowhere to be found.
For this to be at all worth eating, the sauerkraut must be either fresh (as in homemade) or pretty darn fresh (as in a glass jar in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, i.e., Bubbies). If you make it with that foul crap from a can, I refuse to be held responsible for the (surely inedible) consequences.
This will be pretty good when you first taste it, but if you refrigerate it overnight and reheat it gently the next day, it will verge on party-in-your-mouth territory, for real.
Belorussian(ish) Bacon-Sauerkraut Soup
Serves six, roughly
1/2 pound plain old white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/4 pound good bacon (in ends and pieces form--why not?), diced
3/4 pound delicious mouthwatering sauerkraut, drained (and rinsed and drained again, if it's very salty, which Bubbies won't be)
1 medium-to-large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp sour cherry jam
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp flour
Plenty of ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine mushrooms, water and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil for 8 minutes. (Why 8? I don't know. But it's fun to be precise sometimes.) Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
Place bacon in a cold soup pot; set over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 3 Tbsp fat. Return to medium heat.
Add sauerkraut to soup pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until strands look separate and shimmer with golden yummylookingness. Add onion and carrot; cook, stirring regularly, about 7 minutes more, or until onion is translucent and carrot is barely tender.
Scoop out 1/2 cup of the mushroom stock and set aside. Add remaining mushroom stock, plus mushrooms, sour cherry jam and 1/2 tsp salt, to soup. Whisk flour into reserved stock until smooth; add to pot. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
Whisk in lemon juice. Taste and add pepper, plus more salt if needed (I didn't need any more at this stage). Serve hot, or cover, refrigerate overnight and reheat to serve the next day. (If chilled/reheated, you may want to spoon a little of the solid fat off the top. Not all of it, though...)
In Belorussia (?), it is customary to serve this soup with baked potatoes, so that's what we did. This will probably put you into a food coma, so don't plan on going anywhere/doing anything after eating.