soup / vegetarian

Hungarian sauerkraut soup (Credit Crunch, part 1)

Thanks to the shocking annual electricity bill, I have had to concentrate on cooking using up my kitchen stocks to give more oomph to my Euro. The positive side of cooking to a budget is that it can make you a little more creative when you search through the larder and cook using what ingredients you have. It has been a bit like cooking backwards. Instead of asking “Which ingredients do I need for this recipe?” I had to ask “What recipe do I need for these ingredients?”

This recipe is from chefkoch.de although I suspect it’s actually from the great German cookery magazine Essen & Trinken because I remember cooking a similar recipe which I had found there ten years ago.

I made this in the pressure cooker because sometimes potatoes refuse to cook due to the acid in the sauerkraut. I used tinned sauerkraut, plucking out the strands of sauerkraut from the can after draining.

Ingredients:

1200 g potatoes (not mealy), 2 onions, 1 red pepper, 50g butter (or oil but butter is better here), 1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika, 2 tbsp tomato puree (I used Hungarian mild paprika puree from the tube), 500g fresh sauerkraut (or one tin), 1 tbsp sugar, honey or other sweetener, 1oooml vegetable stock, 5 slices of crispbread or roughly chopped wholemeal bread,butter to fry, 1 garlic clove (or more) and 100g creme fraiche, salt, pepper and mild Hungarian paprika to taste

What to do:

1. Peel the potatoes and onion, and cut with the pepper into large chunks (potatoes) or dice (onions and pepper). Melt 50g butter in a saucepan and gently fry the vegetables for about 15 minutes on medium heat.

2. Stir in the paprika and tomato or paprika puree. Add sauerkraut and sweetener of choice. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil briefly. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes. Or do what I did and bring the pot up to pressure and then cook for 10 minutes under pressure. This ensured that my potatoes were cooked through (and also saved electricity).

3. While you’re waiting for the soup to cook, crumble the crispbread into little pieces and fry in a small amount of butter to brown. Peel and crush the garlic and add to the frying pan, stirring well.

4. Season soup to taste (I added a little more mild Hungarian paprika) and ladle into soup bowls. Add a spoonful of creme fraiche to each bowl and then spoon some buttery garlic crumbs on top.

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