Pork-and-Cabbage Soup

Prep Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins

Two types of pork -- bacon and spareribs -- and cabbage -- Savoy and sauerkraut -- are the stars in our version of the hearty Polish soup known as kapusniak.


  • 6 ounces bacon, chopped

  • 3 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced into ¼-inch rounds, then washed well and drained (1 cup)

  • 4 pounds pork spareribs, cut crosswise into 4 sections

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds (1 ½ cups)

  • ½ small Savoy cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces

  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (1 cup)

  • 2 cups sauerkraut, drained

  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Fresh dill, sour cream, seeded rye bread, and salted butter, for serving


  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon and leeks, stirring occasionally, until most of fat is rendered and leeks have softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add spareribs and 5 quarts water to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil, skimming foam and impurities from surface, until meat is tender and falls from bones easily, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer ribs to a plate; let cool slightly. (For a clear soup, strain broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and return to pot before adding vegetables.) Add carrots, cabbage, potatoes, onion, sauerkraut, caraway seeds, and bacon mixture. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and easily pierced with a knife, 22 to 25 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, slice ribs between bones and pull meat from bones. Cut off and discard any tough cartilage. Slice or tear meat into bite-size pieces. Stir meat into pot and simmer a few minutes to warm through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with dill, sour cream, bread, and butter.

    pork cabbage soup
    Christopher Testani
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