Chefs Cortney Burns and Nick Balla of the much-beloved Bar Tartine in San Francisco came to our Test Kitchen to make this soup. The recipe is traditionally served on Christmas Eve in Slovakia and comes from Balla's father when he was living there. The soup achieves that perfect agrodolce mouthfeel: It's both sweet and sour with a heavy dose of smoky flavor, lingering heat and a lip-smacking finish.
To learn more, read "Sauerkraut Is Coming to Town."
Recipe adapted from "Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes," by Nick Balla and Cortney Burns (Chronicle Books)
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups drained sauerkraut
1 cup reserved sauerkraut brine
1 pound dry chorizo, sliced into ¼-inch half moons
4 ounces slab bacon, finely diced (about 1 cup)
8 ounces button mushrooms, stemmed and halved
4 green serrano chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 green bell peppers—stemmed, seeded and diced
2 sweet onions, diced
½ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
8 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 large tomatoes, cored and diced with their juice
12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 tablespoons hot paprika
6 to 10 dried chipotle or árbol chiles (optional)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted
2 bay leaves
Salt, to taste
Sour cream, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the broth, sauerkraut and brine, chorizo, bacon, mushrooms, serrano chiles, bell peppers, onions, apricots and potatoes, and bring to a simmer. Cover and adjust the heat to medium low and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, garlic, paprika, chipotle chiles, caraway seeds and bay leaves. Season with salt and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are just about to fall apart, about 20 minutes longer. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
3. To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with sour cream and pepper. Make ahead: The soup can be made, covered and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.