Celebrating one of Germany’s most famous “superfoods”, Sauerkraut, this wonderful soup is satisfying to both tummy and soul. The combination of tangy sauerkraut, caramelized onions, smoky paprika, savory bacon and earthy caraway is deliciously irresistible!
Each year when Autumn arrives I automatically start to think about my favorite German Fall dishes like Zwiebelkuchen and flavorful soups and stews. My thoughts also turn to sauerkraut. Yes, sauerkraut. Autumn is cabbage harvest time and it’s during the cold months that sauerkraut is traditionally made; the cooler weather allows for a long and slow fermentation process which yields a superior-tasting product. And while I make sauerkraut throughout the year, I always make a big batch in the Fall.
If you’ve ever lived in Germany and spent a good deal of time eating out, you’ll know that sauerkraut is surprisingly versatile. While it most certainly is eaten along with stereotypical foods like Wurst and Schweinehaxen, you’ll also find sauerkraut in things like casseroles, savory pastries, breads, meatballs, pasta, fritters, salads, quiche, sandwiches, pizzas, soups and stews.
Today I’m sharing a German Sauerkraut Soup with you that is similar to how my mom used to make it for us in Germany. There are several variations of Sauerkrautsuppe and this “red” version utilizing paprika is a popular one and my personal favorite.
This soup always takes me back to Germany, to the homes I grew up in and the places I loved to visit.
One of my favorite German castles to visit in the Fall, and any time of the year, is Schloss Bürresheim. It isn’t one of the more widely known or heavily touristed castles like those of King Ludwig. It’s a lesser known gem but well worth the visit. It’s in the northern part of the Eifel mountain range in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany just outside the town of Mayen.
Built in the 12th century, it is one of only a few castles that was never conquered or devastated and has remained largely intact all these centuries. It’s located out in the country, surrounded by a river and hiking trails.
Incidentally, if you’re an Indiana Jones fan, Schloss Bürresheim was one of the filming locations in The Last Crusade. In the film it was called Castle Brunwald, where Indiana’s father is kept prisoner.
Let’s get back to the FOOD.
The combination of tangy sauerkraut, caramelized onions, smoky paprika, savory bacon and earthy caraway is simply irresistible! Stir in some crème fraîche or sour cream, serve the soup hot with some crusty bread and a leafy green salad, and you’ll have yourself a truly satisfying meal!
In Germany I would normally use something very flavorful like speck, pancetta or a heavily smoked bacon from the Black Forest, close to where I grew up, but regular bacon will do as a substitute.
For this soup I’m enlisting our favorite brand of broth, Aneto, made in Barcelona, Spain. Aneto makes their 100% All-Natural Chicken Broth like we make it in our kitchen: They select the freshest vegetables and chicken, put them in large pot, and let them slow-simmer for hours. They don’t use any powders, extracts, concentrates, additives, flavor enhancers or anything else. They only use real, whole ingredients. We took a tour of their factory in Barcelona a few years ago and saw the entire process from start to finish. It was incredibly inspiring.
Aneto’s broths and paella cooking bases can be found in store locations across the United States. You can also purchase their chicken broth and other broths here on Amazon. They also make a low-sodium chicken broth.
So without further ado here is a wonderful soup celebrating one of Germany’s most famous “superfoods,” Sauerkraut!
German Sauerkraut Soup Recipe
Let’s get started!
In a soup pot, fry the bacon until done. Add the onions and fry until lightly caramelized, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in the tomato paste and spices and cook another minute.
Pour in the chicken broth.
Stir in the drained sauerkraut and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche or sour cream and heat through (do not boil).
Serve hot with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.
Crusty bread and a leafy green salad make perfect accompaniments.
For more delicious German recipes be sure to try our:
- Gaisburger Marsch
- German Potato Dumplings
- Sauerkraut Soup
- German Potato Salad
German Sauerkraut Soup (Sauerkrautsuppe)
- 4 ounces flavorful smoked bacon or speck , diced
- 2 medium to large yellow onions , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon quality smoked Hungarian paprika (preferably Kalosca or Szeged) (mild, not hot)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (very traditional herb in German cooking)
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds , lightly crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 4 cups quality chicken broth (we recommend Aneto 100% All-Natural Chicken Broth)
- or Aneto low-sodium chicken broth
- 18 ounces German Sauerkraut, drained (about 3 1/2 heaping cups) Do NOT substitute with American sauerkraut **see Note below
- How to Make Sauerkraut (it's easy! Click link for recipe tutorial)
- 1/3 cup crème fraîche (can substitute full-fat sour cream)
- In a soup pot fry the bacon until done. Add the onions and cook until lightly caramelized, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the tomato paste and spices and cook another minute. Add the chicken broth and sauerkraut and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche or sour cream and heat through (do not boil).
- Serve hot with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream. Crusty bread and a leafy green salad make great accompaniments.