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Kielbasa cabbage soup

Kielbasa cabbage soup

As has been my tradition over the years, I made something Polish to celebrate the Illinois-specific holiday Casimir Pulaski Day. Unlike last year, I did not go all out and translate from a Polish food blog to find this week’s recipe.

But nonetheless, I found a delightful recipe from “Serious Eats” that has many of the same ingredients as last year’s casserole: Kielbasa, potato, cabbage, sauerkraut and paprika.

It’s also perfect for the upcoming St. Pat’s Day holiday, as I don’t think I’ve ever used so much cabbage in a recipe that wasn’t corned beef and cabbage, or I guess, cole slaw.

Because it is packed with meat and vegetables, it’s almost more like a stew than a soup. But whatever you call it, it’s delicious.

The best part of this recipe, though, is the fact that it cooks in one pot. Brown the meat in the Dutch oven, then use the fat to saute the vegetables, add broth and wait. This was especially nice as I’ve been feeling under the weather, so my time working in the kitchen was greatly reduced. And I am indebted to my sous chef sweetie who made the process go quicker by stirring the pot while I chopped veggies.

Kielbasa Cabbage Soup

6 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

12 ounces kielbasa or smoked Polish sausage, sliced

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 small head of cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch shreds

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8 ounces can sauerkraut, with juice

8-9 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

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1/4 cup chopped dill, with stems reserved

1 large russet potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons paprika, preferably smoked paprika

Cook bacon and kielbasa in a large Dutch oven over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the meat is browned in spots. Add the onions and carrot and cook, stirring, until they are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook until lightly wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the sauerkraut with its juice, the broth, bay leaves, dill stems and potato. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the potato is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the cornstarch and paprika. Add 1 T. water to form a slurry. Pour the flurry into the soup and stir until evenly mixed. Return soup to a boil, add in the chopped dill and enjoy!

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Christinia Crippes is a Courier reporter who loves to cook. Read her blog at www.wcfcourier.com.

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