[cooks note: I made this soup and used 1 cup pot barley with about like it says on the recipe a can of sauerkraut. I used leftover cooked sauerkraut and put it in at the when the soup was finished cooking and leave out the caraway. I added some cubed cooked potatoes]
Smoked hocks or a meaty ham bone adds another layer to this sauerkraut soup. Some people thicken the soup with a roux or add potatoes, but my mother always used barley, which I've done here. She never used caraway seeds, but others do. It's good in all these variations. Serve with hearty dark rye bread and you've got a meal in a bowl. As with most soups, it tastes better the next day. The soup can also be turned into creamed sauerkraut soup.
What You'll Need
2 pounds ham hocks or meaty ham bone
2 quarts water
1 large chopped onion
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
1 sprig fresh parsley or 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup barley, rinsed and drained (not quick-cooking)
1 (14-ounce) can sauerkraut, drained (reserve liquid), rinsed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
How to Make It
Place pork and water in a dutch oven or other large pot. Bring to a boil, skimming off foam. Add onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, and parsley. Return to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 45 minutes or until meat falls off the bones.
Remove meat from broth, dice and return to the pot with barley, sauerkraut, and caraway seeds, if using. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for an additional 45 minutes. If soup becomes too thick, add meat stock or water. If a more sour taste is desired, add some reserved kraut juice. Adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaf. Serve in heated bowls with hearty rye bread.