In the mood for a true, heartwarming Polish comfort food? Try your hand at a pot of Poland’s Kwaśnica!
Kwaśnica is a culinary gem deeply rooted in the culture of Poland’s mountain region, known as “Podhale.” This hearty and sour cabbage soup is not just a dish; it's a taste of the mountains, a symbol of hospitality, and a testament to the resourcefulness of the people who call this region home.
In the Polish Highlands, where winters are harsh and the landscape is rugged, Kwaśnica has been a beloved staple for generations. This dish is a true reflection of the region's culture, as it showcases the creative use of locally available ingredients to craft a flavorful and satisfying meal. At its heart, Kwaśnica is a sour cabbage soup made from sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, and hearty meats such as sausage. The sauerkraut, with its distinctive tanginess, adds a unique flavor profile to the soup. Slow-cooked to perfection, Kwaśnica melds the flavors of these ingredients, creating a comforting and nourishing dish that warms both body and the soul.
We invite you to immerse yourself in the culinary heritage of the Polish Highlands by making your own Kwaśnica. You'll find everything you need to craft this traditional dish, from the sauerkraut and Polish sausage to the seasonings, and breads to enjoy with the stew!
The Kwaśnica tradition embodies the warmth and togetherness of mountain communities, making it a symbol of hospitality and a must-have at celebrations and gatherings. We hope it fills your home with that same warmth and sense of togetherness throughout the months of fall and winter!
- 1 to 1.5 pounds of sauerkraut
- 1 pound of pork ribs
- 1 pounds of smoked pork ribs
- 5.3 ounces of smoked bacon
- 2 smoked sausages or kielbasa, sliced
- Root vegetables (carrots, celery, parsley root, etc.)
- 2 small onions
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 whole allspice berries
- 10-15 whole black peppercorns
- Several dried mushrooms
- 1/3 teaspoon of caraway seeds
- Heaping teaspoon of marjoram
- Heaping tablespoon of lard
- Heaping tablespoon of flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the Sauerkraut: Rinse the sauerkraut under cold water to remove some of the acidity, then drain it well. You can also squeeze out excess liquid by hand if necessary.
2. Cook the Pork Ribs and Bacon: In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the lard over medium heat. Add the pork ribs and bacon, and cook until they start to brown.
3. Sauté the Onion and Garlic: Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pot and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant.
4. Add Sausages and Spices: Stir in the sliced smoked sausages or kielbasa and continue cooking for a few more minutes until they start to brown. Add the bay leaves, allspice berries, black peppercorns, caraway seeds, and marjoram. Sauté for another couple of minutes to release their flavors.
5. Add the Vegetables: Add the root vegetables (carrots, celery, parsley root, etc.) to the pot and stir to combine with the other ingredients.
6. Incorporate the Sauerkraut: Now, add the prepared sauerkraut to the pot and stir well to combine all the ingredients.
7. Add Water or Broth: Pour in enough water or chicken broth to cover all the ingredients in the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
8. Simmer and Cook: Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the pork ribs are tender and the flavors have melded together. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
9. Season to Taste: Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed. The sauerkraut and bacon can be quite salty, so be cautious with the salt until you've tasted it.
10. Serve: Ladle the Kwaśnica into bowls. If desired, garnish each serving with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley. Serve hot with Polish Rye bread.
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