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Matt’s Polish Kapusniak (Sauerkraut Soup)

As you guys know, we dedicated our soup travels this year to Matt Kubarski, who passed away last year and was an awesome beloved customer and lover of soups. This is his family’s soup recipe. Matt was born in Poland, and came to live in Niagara Falls when he was 7. His daughter Kathy is one of our best regulars and she found scraps and bits of family recipes in order to get this to us—and even dropped off a sample for us to try! Matt also once brought our old SFe manager Avery a quart of this soup to try (he was rad like that). You can read more about Matt on our website and also click through to his obituary. Kathy has sad that “soups were part of Matt’s identity” and “a really big deal in our family.” They were his passion and hobby—he was @soupman1927 on Instagram, and had a bunch of followers (at 90 years plus, too).


  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 5 large onions, diced
  • 8 x 12 oz links of Smoked Polka Kielbasa, sliced
  • 3 quarts sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • 4 TB caraway seed, slightly ground with mortar and pestle or coffee grinder
  • 14 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin half moons
  • 20 stalks celery, sliced (try to match size of carrots)
  • 3 quarts white potatoes, medium diced
  • 12 quarts chicken stock
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 6 TBS sugar
  • 1 TB pepper
  • 5 TB salt, to taste


  1. In a soup pot, saute’ onion with olive oil over medium high heat for about 15 minutes. Then add sliced kielbasa, sauerkraut and caraway seeds. Cook 10 min more. Add in carrots, celery and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 more minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves. When the soup comes to a boil, turn down the heat to medium low and cover. Cook partially covered for about 1 hour, or until vegetables are soft.
  3. Add sugar. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot (Matt, like his father before him, always liked his soup VERY hot and would send it back to the kitchen if it was not hot enough!).
  4. Serve with a slice of rye bread and butter on the side.