When I start discussing healthy eating with my clients, first things that I hear are 'super foods', 'super bowls', 'super greens'. All super attractive, right? Which is absolutely fine, all trendy , all current, all super healthy.
Sometimes I just want simple. Foods that are more traditional, more affordable but also offering immense health benefits. These foods may be forgotten or may have bad memories from the childhood. As we grow, our tastes change, so do the choices we make when we choose the food that we would like to eat.
Simple fermented cabbage
I would like to share a super simple recipe of sauerkraut soup. We used to have it all winter in our family. Main reason, fresh vegetables were hardly available in the supermarkets. Therefore, my parents would prepare barrels of sauerkraut and they would be consumed by our large family by spring.
Sauerkraut soup was the most popular in our family but least favourite of mine because of the amount of fat that was used with it. Sauerkraut drizzled with a bit of oil and vinegar accompanied with fresh onion was my favourite which still is. I use it to accompany many meals to boost my immune system, vitamin C levels, improve gut microflora, improve brain function. Healthy gut leads to the healthy brain. Them both have a very close connection. And it is important to mention that it is low in calories if you're trying to maintain or loose weight. You can find more information about sauerkraut on Wikipedia or Google.
Where to find a good quality and tasty sauerkraut?
Where do I get the sauerkraut in the first place? Every year I think I'm going to ferment my own, but somehow I don't have enough time, hm... So I go and get one from the Eastern European store. My favourite are Lithuanian brands. The sauerkraut from Lithuania is crispier and milder smell. If you live in London you will definitely find one of these stores around you. As an internet shopper, I won't hide, I get super lazy and even it's only 15 min away from me, I choose to order online. Sainsbury's have a section and they do sell Polish brand which I used in this recipe. It wasn't the best jar, cabbage was a little soft and smell was a little too strong, even off-putting. Let's be honest here, it does smell like a fart:), sorry to be openly brutal in my judgement.
Sauerkraut Soup Preparation
First thing what I do, I rinse sauerkraut well under cold water in the colander and let couple minutes to drain. Sauerkraut is ready. Place it in the pot and cover well with cold water. Add 5 black pepper corns + 1 dried bay leaf and place it on the hot stove to bring it to the boil. Then simmer for 10 minutes.
I never measure, but I like to keep sauerkraut soup thick. For the sake of this recipe I used approx 1 cup of sauerkraut 2 cups of water. You can always top it up with boiling water if you see it is little too thick for you.
In the meantime, melt knob of butter in the frying pan (for vegans, use the olive oil, both go well) and place 1 medium size grated carrot and 1 grated celery stick. Fry until soft. Then transfer content into the pot with sauerkraut. Simmer further for 3 minutes checking water level, add more of boiling water if you want thinner consistency.
This particular soup recipe is with lean turkey mince noisettes (we call them frikadelles), I think in England we commonly refer to them as meatballs. If you are making vegan version, skip the following part and go to a final part.
Preparation of meatballs
Take a handful of turkey mince, put small pinch of salt a little sprinkle of black pepper, mix well and form small balls of around 1.5 cm diameter. If you cook for a big family in a massive pot your meatballs can be as big as 3 cm. Place meatballs into the pot with sauerkraut and continue to simmer for around 5 minutes.
Chop 2 spring onions, a handful of curly parsley, half of the red chilli no seeds, 2 medium size tomatoes. Place all in a pot, put a pinch of salt and simmer for the final 3 minutes. Taste and add more salt if required or if you like more sour taste, a splash of white wine vinegar or squeeze a bit of lemon. Let it cool down and serve. Remember, sauerkraut tastes better on the next day.