Ukrainian Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusnyak) Recipe

Kapusniak, traditional Ukrainian sauerkraut soup
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  • 105 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings Ukrainian Kapusnyak
Ratings (30)

This recipe for Ukrainian sauerkraut soup or kapusnyak (капусняк in Cyrillic) can be made completely vegetarian or with smoked or fresh pork spare ribs as its base.

A special flavor can be achieved by using smoked meat versus unsmoked meat and dried imported mushrooms instead of fresh mushrooms. It's all about depth of flavor.

Be advised, this is just ONE way of making kapusnyak. Recipes vary with the cook. As you might expect, this soup's flavor only improves with time, so it's even better served the next day.

The Polish version is known as kapuśniak. Here is another kapuśniak recipe which calls for fresh cabbage along with brined cabbage or sauerkraut.


What You'll Need

  • 1 pound smoked or fresh pork spareribs
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 large peeled and sliced carrot
  • 1 large peeled and diced potato
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms or 1/2 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 2 pounds sauerkraut drained and rinsed or unrinsed, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Optional: salt, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped dill or parsley

How to Make It

Note: If using dried mushrooms, place them in a heatproof container. Pour over 1 cup boiling water, cover with plastic wrap and let steep while you continue with the recipe.

  1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, place spareribs, water, chopped onion, garlic (if using), bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until the meat is ready to fall off the bones. You may need to add more water.
  1. Remove meat and, when cool enough to handle, chop into bite-size pieces. Reserve.
  2. To Dutch oven with boiling liquid, add carrots, potatoes, mushrooms (along with strained soaking liquid if using dried mushrooms) and sauerkraut.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauerkraut is tender, about 30 minutes. Add more water, if necessary.
  4. Adjust the seasonings. Fork blend 2 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons sour cream. Temper this mixture with a few ladles of hot soup. Then return tempered sour cream to soup and whisk until well incorporated and the soup has thickened slightly.
  5. Return the meat to the soup, heat through and serve with fresh parsley or dill sprigs and rye bread on the side.