Slovak Mushroom-Sauerkraut Soup

From Mike Sula/Chicago Reader

[Ed: Mike adapted this recipe from one provided by his father’s cleaning lady, Barb Sambroak, who in turn got it from her sisters. It is a real soup of extremes: both very shroomy and very sour. Mike used dried shiitake mushrooms, but you can experiment with varieties. And if it’s too sour for your liking, adjust the proportion of stock to kraut juice – or just plop in some more sour cream.]


3/4 pounds dried mushrooms
4 cans Frank’s Kraut Juice (order online)
8 1/2 cups beef stock
2 large onions, roughly chopped
1/4 pound bacon, diced
2 cups sauerkraut, chopped fine
1/4 cup Maggi seasoning sauce
1/4 cup flour (optional)
1/4 cup butter (optional)
sour cream


Soak the mushrooms overnight in warm water. Drain, reserving some of the shroomy liquid. Rinse, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Coarsely chop.

Make a roux by melting the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the flour and stir continuously until the mixture is smooth, the color is nutty brown, and the taste of raw flour is gone (be careful—it’s ridiculously hot). Set aside to cool.

Saute the bacon in the bottom of your soup pot, rendering out as much fat as possible. Add the onions and cook slowly on low heat until they start to caramelize. Add mushrooms and stir for a few minutes until heated through. Repeat with the sauerkraut. Add the stock and kraut juice and simmer for an hour and a half. Add the Maggi, salt, and pepper to taste. If it’s too sour add some mushroom broth.

If you like a thicker soup. Stir in some of the roux until it takes on the viscosity you prefer. Serve garnished with sour cream and dill.


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