Friday, December 17, 2010

Secret Christmas Recipe

Bloggy friends, because Christmas is a time of love, sharing and goodness, I am about to share with you one of our family's favorite Christmas foods. You must keep this just between us, though. This recipe is a secret. How do I know it's a secret? Because my mother-in-law never gave me the recipe. I had to cobble together multiple recipes, experimenting several Christmases, until I got it right. And OH! It's right. So right.

Prepare to fall over dead if you make this soup. It is so good that your family will have to dial 911. To die for, I'm tellin' ya. It will warm you to your toes and revive you once it kills you. Shoot, the smell alone will knock you over.

Be warned, though - this soup isn't for just anyone. It's special. I'd never heard of anything like it, growing up in the deep south. It's a Polish concoction, a Bigos, or hunter's stew. It has a magic ingredient that many people (including myself) don't like. Sauerkraut. Magic because it magically transforms all the ingredients in the soup to make it taste like Christmas!

Here's a Polish rhyme about the wonderful Bigos:

"Bigos is no ordinary dish,
For it is aptly framed to meet your wish.
Founded upon good cabbage, sliced and sour,
Which, as men say, by its own zest and power
Melts in one's mouth, it settles in a pot
And its dewy bosom folds a lot
Of the best portions of selected meats;
Scullions parboil it then, until heat
Draws from its substance all the living juices,
And from the pot's edge, boiling fluid sluices
And all the air is fragrant with its scent."

Adam Mickiewicz - Pan Tadeusz (1834)

Two things: 1) there are no pictures because I won't start making this soup till next week; 2) this soup needs to be made a day or two ahead of time to cook and refrigerate and cook again, perfectly melding the flavors and making the magic happen.

Are you ready? Can you handle the soup? I hope so. Try it on a cold winter day if you're not brave enough to serve it for Christmas, but by all means try it! It makes a huge pot of soup.

Christmas Soup

2 slices diced bacon
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pounds sauerkraut, drained and diced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
6 cups hot water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups diced apples
3 cups cubed red potatoes
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds kielbasa, diced
bay leaf

Make this a day before eating.

Fry bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat til browned. Saute' onion and garlic in Dutch oven 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sauerkraut, paprika, water, bouillon, apples, potatoes and tomatoes, heat to boil and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

Add kielbasa and seasonings, simmering another 12 to 15 minutes.

Refrigerate the soup overnight. An hour before eating, reheat soup and simmer til time to eat. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas, y'all! Maybe later, if you're good, I'll share the family eggnog recipe.

Until I write again ...



Laura~peach~ said...

sounds like i would like it... not so sure about the rest of the house...I may try it one day

Daryl said...

Oh so sad that I dont cook .. not

Egghead said...

Actually this reminds me of my Hungarian grandmothers cooking. She used kraut quite often. I look forward to trying this...maybe this weekend. Call me strange but I love kraut. Yum!

Cheeseboy said...

Two thumbs up (plus my third insane thumb growing out of my shoulder) for any recipe that involves bacon. No Christmas is complete without it.

Mental P Mama said...

I can almost smell it here;)

Crazed Nitwit said...

My grandparents were 100% Hungarian and my grandmother used to make her own sauerkraut. While I'm sure you love this I can only say YUCK! LOL. Enjoy.

I'm sticking to turkey. mashed taters, and corn.

(Guess I take after my Canadian mother.......)

Karen Deborah said...

um these old recipes are usually gold. It sounds like it is delicious.

Pearl said...

Flea, my friend, I am going to make this. Seriously. Winter is a great time for soups (just made a ham and bean!) and I've heard of this so I'm going to make it.

Will let you know how it turns out!


Diane said...

It sounds really good, Flea!

CanadianMama said...

Wow, I'm totally going to make this and impress the hub's Polish family! Thanks Flea!
ps. good thing you sent me the link because for some reason you aren't updating in my google reader. I'm going to try to take you off and then re-add you and see if that helps!?!