Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sauerkraut, Sausage and Barley Soup

Oh my gosh. I go on a blog sabbatical (professional term for "felt way lazy") and when I come back to say hi to you all and share a recipe, the entire Blogger interface has changed! How are creatures of habit like myself supposed to learn yet another new thing?  This is what stops me from getting an iPhone or an iPad.  I'm stuck back in the pioneer days of computing.  As embarrassing as this is to admit, I'm still using a computer powered by mice... well I think they're actually hamsters.... on a wheel.

The reason for this post?  Well... since you asked, I'm feeling kind of proud of myself today and wanted to offer you this delicious recipe for fall.  AND...I made this soup from ingredients recovered from the depths of my fridge and pantry. It was like pulling a Rabi out of my hat! Like making Mountain Dew out of a mole hill!  Like making a silk purse out of a sow's rear!  Truly gifted, I am. No shower, makeup, hairspray or gas usage to the grocery store were used in the making of this soup.  Have I droned on enough? All righty then....

Sauerkraut, Sausage and Barley Soup

1 TBSP olive oil
1 pound smoked sausage or kielbasa, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used an orange one)
1 stalk of celery, diced (I included the leaves)
pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 cup pearl barley (NOT the quick cooking kind) rinsed
32 oz. jar of sauerkraut, drained and lightly rinsed
16 oz. bag of coleslaw mix OR 6-7 cups of shredded cabbage
1/4 cup boiled cider (or may substitute 1 cup of apple cider reduced to 1/4 cup.... see note below)

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add sausage and brown.  Removed sausage to paper towel to drain. Set aside.

To the pan drippings, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery.  Season with pepper, thyme, caraway seeds and crushed red pepper flakes.  DO NOT SEASON WITH SALT at this time as the sauerkraut will add much salt later.

Saute vegetables for 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in the rinsed barley and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the sauerkraut and coleslaw (or cabbage.)  Return soup to a boil and again reduce heat and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.  Stir in the boiled cider and sausage.

NOTE:  I purchased my boiled cider from King Arthur Flour and had it in the fridge from last year (maybe even the year before... see what I mean about using ingredients from the depths of the Frigidaire?)  By taking a cup of apple cider and simmering it until it reduces to about a quarter of a cup, you'll get a similar product. It will be thick and syrupy.