Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kraut and Brat Soup

I love Oktoberfest.  In every city we have lived in, we have always tried to attend these fun festivals, and not just for the beer.  In Oregon, the event was quite large in Mt. Angel and I have memories going back 30 years of attending.  It was a place to have great food, hear wonderful polka music, buy all the dried flowers you could imagine and spend time with my family.  We loved it!

Our kids have had a lot of opportunities to attend various festivals with our travels.  This is one that they always love to attend (and the greek and Japanese)…we just love diversity and traditions!  LOL

When we heard of this festival coming to Annapolis, we definitely wanted to attend.  It is our first one on the East coast.  I have to admit, it was different and smaller.  I was looking for more authentic artwork, crafts and a "feel" of the culture.   I realize that we may not have a large German community in our area and so we enjoyed what was offered.  The food was great, especially the red cabbage…OH, MY….very tasty.

I have listed below some tidbits of Oktoberfest and some word translations for the food items.

It is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world's largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810.  Copied from Wikipedia.

Oktoberfest Bavarian hats (Tirolerhüte)
These drunk patrons are often called "Bierleichen" (German for "beer corpses")
Hendl- chicken
Schweinebraten-roasted pork
Schweinshaxe-grilled ham hock
Knödel-potato noodle
Reiberdatschi-potato pancake
Rotekraut-red kraut
lederhosen-traditional Men's shorts
Dirndl -dresses worn by the women

In celebration of our attending this fest, I made one of our favorite soups: Kraut and Brat Potato Soup.  I have been making this soup for years.  I am sure it's not an original creation but my family loves it.  Over the years I have learned a few things to really enhance the flavors.  First, you must buy a really good sauerkraut.  I only use the stuff in bags.  If you can make your own even better.  If you want to have an excellent broth, you must add the kraut juice.  You get the tart flavor in every bite.  Secondly, you must fry the kraut before adding it to the soup and then you should add all the juices from the pan.  This again, adds a richness to the flavor.  Thirdly, it's always better the next day.  I don't know why it just is!

This was a booth of 100 different hot sauces.  Every bottle had a different name.  WOW

Isabella and Rye attended the festival and were able to enjoy themselves too.  Rye picked up this really cute owl hat and Isabella made a hedgehog.  Arts and Crafts are a sure way to ensure a 4-year-old has a good time.

I have never seen a raw oyster bar at an Oktoberfest before, but hey, we do live by the bay and people here love their seafood!  I had to pass on this. I could not bring myself to eat raw oysters from a street vendor…call me paranoid.  It just did not feel right.

Recipe:   Kraut and Brat Potato Soup

4 cup chicken broth
2 cups of water + kraut juice
1 large potato, cubed
1 c. onion, diced
½ cup of celery, diced
½ cup carrots, shredded or sliced
 1 T. oil  for sauteeing
salt and pepper

½  cube butter

 ½ cup flour
 1 ½ cups of milk
 1 cup cream

The amount of sauerkraut and sausage you add is a personal choice.  We like a lot so we would add the maximum listed.  If this dish is new or the flavors are new for you, you may want to add the minimum and taste.  You can always add more if you LOVE it.

1-2 cups of drained sauerkraut
2-3 Bratwurst sausages, remove casing  

In a large pot, add water and broth.  In a 2 cup glass measuring device, add the juice from your bag of kraut.  Fill the measuring cup to the 2 cup line with water.  You want an equivalent of 2 cups with the combination of the water and the kraut juice.  Keep in mind, the more kraut juice you use, the stronger and more intense your flavor will be.  You can also just use water for the whole two cups.  

Set your heat to medium high and bring water, broth and juice to a boil.  While this is heating up, add your diced potato and carrots to the pot.  

In a separate sauce pan, start your brats.  I remove the casing from the sausage and fry until well done.  I like to see a crispy edge to my brats. 

In another fry pan, saute your onion and celery in the oil.  Add the kraut and let it all get nice and fried, again, I like a little bit of color in my kraut to show that it has been cooked.  Combine your sausage to your veggies and set aside until you are ready to add to the potato/carrot mix.

In a small sauce pan, add your butter and melt.  Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add your milk and cream.  Cook until nice and thick.

Once your potatoes are soft and ready to go, add the veggie/meat mix and milk/cream/flour to your boiling water.

Reduce heat and stir.  If you want your soup thicker you can make more of the roue mixture.  I personally don't like chunky soup so for our family the thickness is perfect.

I have already stated above the flavor of this soup gets better the next day, but you can eat it right after making it too.  ENJOY!


  1. Oh wow~~~~~! This looks really delicious Sherron. I love the soupy dish and potatoes, and this just looks perfect for my liking!

  2. I think this sounds so yummy!! I just know my hubby would LOVE it!!

    Thanks for sharing it at my soup supper today!


  3. This sounds wonderful!! I like the idea of a thicker/heartier soup. Can't wait to try - thanks!

  4. My grandson absolutely loves kraut and brats on a hoagie bun so this recipe iS a must try. The combination of flavors sound Very intriguing so next
    time he asks for brats And kraut we will make this.

  5. My grandson absolutely loves kraut and brats on a hoagie bun so this recipe iS a must try. The combination of flavors sound Very intriguing so next
    time he asks for brats And kraut we will make this.

  6. mmmmmmmmhmmmmmm this sounds so good, will be making this one for sure.

  7. Could you specify how much Sauerkraut and how many brats? I don't buy Sauerkraut in bags so it would be helpful to know measurements. Thanks.

    1. I have adjusted the recipe to show totals and measurements for both. This was a recipe from my early days when I was new at writing things out..LOL Thank you for catching that and asking me. This is what I added to the recipe to help you visualize the amounts:

      1-2 cups of drained sauerkraut
      2-3 Bratwurst sausages, remove casing

      We like extra sauerkraut and sausage in our soup so we use the maximum amount used.'

      Hope this helps. The soup is so delicious and I cannot wait until it gets cool enough here in MD to make this again.


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