Serves 6 to 8
1 Tbls lard, or olive oil
1 Lbs (4 inks) Polish or German Bratwurst Sausages, sliced on the diagonal into ½ inch coins
2 medium leeks, sliced 1/4”, washed and drained
1 qt. chicken or beef stock or broth
1 large bay leaf
14 oz. can or 1 to 2 cups *sauerkraut
1 cup or more each sliced carrots and diced celery or celery root
4 medium waxy potatoes, cubed
1 pint (or 14 oz can) peeled whole plum tomatoes, crush by hand with the juice
1 Tbls. organic cane sugar
1 Tbls red wine or balsamic vinegar (optional, see directions)
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
To serve (optional): whole milk yogurt or sour cream and minced parsley or chives and some good German bread & grass-fed, unsalted butter!
Heat the fat in a heavy bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the sausages and sauté until lightly browned. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Drain all but one tablespoon of the fat. If using pastured pork sausage, save it for another use like frying potatoes otherwise, discard the fat.
Add the leeks, cover and “sweat” the leeks until they are limp and translucent.
Uncover and add the stock, bay leaf, crushed tomatoes and their juice, celery, carrots and sugar. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the cubed potato and sausage and simmer without a lid just until the potatoes are cooked but firm, 15 to 20 minutes.
Taste for seasoning. The soup should be slightly “sweet and sour”. Depending on your tomatoes, it might need the vinegar to add a sour note. Add the vinegar if needed. I always do.
Add the sauerkraut and heat through.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a sprinkle of chives or parsley
If using purchased, canned kraut, drain the kraut and add it with the carrots and celery so that it will soften and the flavor with meld into the soup.
If using raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut, in order to preserve the probiotics, drain the kraut and save the brine. Add it just long enough to warm through and become slightly tender. Turn off the heat and add the reserved salt bring instead of salt if needed.