I have found some truly amazing recipes for October Unprocessed (check out my Pinterest board for them all here), but there are a few that are fast becoming my favorites. I am particularly happy to work with other things I make from scratch (even before the OU challenge), like homemade, nitrate-free bacon, and sauerkraut I made in my own fermenting crock.
I found this excellent recipe by Sweet & Sauer for a bacon, potato and sauerkraut soup, and I had to try it … although I kicked it up a little. I like my soups to be nice and chunky, and I generally use vegetable stock or chicken stock, where this recipe calls for water.
I added some German favorites like dill and beer, so call my kicked-up version “Oktoberfest Soup.”
Kicked-up Oktoberfest Soup
- 8 ounces bacon (my recipe for unprocessed, nitrate-free bacon is here)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, cubed
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4-5 new potatoes (about 1 pound)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 cups sauerkraut (my homemade recipe is here)
- 1 tablespoon dried dill
- dash of hot sauce or sriracha (my homemade recipe is here)
- lots of black pepper
- half a bottle of good beer
- just a little bit of salt*
I rendered the chopped bacon with the onions and garlic, then added the hot sauce, the chopped carrots and potatoes, and the dried dill and pepper.
Then I added the beer (be sure to scrape up all the good bits stuck to the bottom of the pot) and the water. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the sauerkraut at the end — *and salt to taste, ONLY if you need it. There is a lot of salt in the bacon and in the kraut, so taste it first and make sure — you don’t want to overdo it.
The hot sauce, the dried dill, the good beer and the bit of sweet earthiness from the sweet potato make a huge difference in the flavor of the stock. Make sure you use a tasty beer, as the flavor of it will concentrate as the soup cooks.
A quick note about adding the sauerkraut at the end: I found the best result when I put cold sauerkraut on the bottom of my soup bowl, and then ladled the hot soup on top. If you heat the kraut over 110 degrees, the probiotic goodness of the sauerkraut might be compromised … although it will still taste very good. 🙂
After October Unprocessed is over, I think I will try a slightly processed, slightly spicier version … I want to get some good marinated pork belly (my local Korean grocery has the best stuff in their deli, but I am sure it’s processed on some level) and make a stew from it with noodles, then add my homemade kimchi at the end. I think it would be fantastic.