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Jamie’s Lithuanian Sauerkraut Soup

Beef soup bones
1 to 1 1/2 pound stew meat, cut into soup-bites
2 cans (approximately 16 oz each) sauerkraut
1 small can (8 oz) stewed tomatoes,
1 bay leaf
Black pepper to taste,
Usually needs little or no salt, depending on the kraut

Rinse bones, brown bones and meat thoroughly. Add enough water to cover meat and bones, simmer covered about 2 hours.

(This step is cosmetic, for clearer broth. If you don't care how the broth looks, just remove the bones). Remove bones and meat, discard bones. Rinse meat. Strain stock through fine mesh or cheesecloth. Return meat and stock to pot.

Drain and slightly rinse sauerkraut, and add to pot. Cut up the stewed tomatoes with a scissors while still in the can, and add the stewed tomatoes with their juice to the pot. Add bay leaf, and pepper to taste (additional water if needed). Simmer covered at least 2 more hours. Taste to see if it needs any salt. (The crisp sauerkraut that comes in a jar can be used instead of canned, but tends to be extremely smelly during the cooking process.  The end product comes out the same.)