Another classic Czech recipe: Sauerkraut Soup (Zelnacka)Another classic Czech recipe: Sauerkraut Soup (Zelnacka) | Czechmatediary
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Another classic Czech recipe: Sauerkraut Soup (Zelnacka)

zelnacka google imageI consulted three cookbooks for this recipe of which one is taken from the “Velka Kucharka”(Big Cookbook) by Brabec – a favorite cookbook of my mom’s. “Velka kucharka” was written during deep communist times (1969) so the authenticity of this recipe is 100% guaranteed…



  • 7 0z. Sauerkraut
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbs. of flour
  • 1 onion,diced
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • Polish sausage (kielbasa)
  • 5-10 white mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tsp. Caraway seeds
  • 1-2 tsp. Sweet paprika

  1. Saute finely diced bacon
  2. Add sliced Polish sausage, mushrooms and onion; saute for about 5 min.
  3. Sprinkle with flour and stir everything around
  4. Add drained sauerkraut, diced potatoes, caraway seeds and paprika and stir
  5. Add water, salt and cook until tender
  • Optional: top with sour-cream before serving

PS: Also, if after tasting the finished soup, you still feel like it needs something, try to add a little bit of the sauerkraut juice and a little bit of sugar (to balance the acidity out)

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14 comments… add one
  • Nicola April 6, 2009, 6:56 am

    Very good recipe. According to my Czech husband, it is very much tastes of home. I am a Canadian, and he enjoys my cooking, but sometimes gets nostalgic for his childhood favourites. I decided to scour the Internet for a good zelnacka recipe, and he really likes this one. He just recommended that I add a couple of bay leaves to it, like his grandmother does. ^_^

  • Val January 31, 2012, 3:07 pm

    This is wonderful! I can’t emphasize enough how a good bread compliments this. I drain and rinse the sauerkraut, and add a bottle of beer to the chicken stock. Sometimes I put in a package of frozen vegetables if I have them on hand, and green beans go very well in this. Thanks so much for posting its history, although its a family recipe I had no idea where it had come from. Now knowing that we have Czech roots, its fun to think that it was handed down.

  • Tanja January 31, 2012, 9:16 pm

    Hi Val,and you are very welcome! Do you use the water from the sauerkraut too?
    I can’t wait to try your beer variation.

  • Carol Deml August 7, 2012, 8:19 am

    This sounds wonderful compared to the “Zalnoka” we were raised with. My grandmothers family was from Litomysl and Zalnoka was a staple during lent. Being from a Catholic family this dish was made with no meat and served on Fridays during lent. Instead of using meat it was made with eggs and served over mashed potato’s with pea’s. I know it sounds terrible (my kids wont touch it) I was also raised on it but we added cheese on top. It really is quite good and is somewhat of a comfort food to me. I can’t wait to try your version it sounds so good! It will be a while since we wont have any kraut until it is done fermenting. My dad just made it this last weekend so I wont expect to have any for a few months as I can’t stand the stuff they sell in the stores! Have you tried any other Czech recipes? Another favorite of mine was side pork with sauerkraut dumplings. Our traditional way to serve sauerkraut during the holidays or a big family get-together is cold sauerkraut mixed with heavy cream. My kids actually love this one and fight over any leftovers! I’m not sure if that is traditional Czech or just something my grandmother came up with. Good luck with this site. I can’t wait to check it out! (No pun intended)

  • Tanja August 7, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Hi Carol,

    that actually sounds pretty good to me – it smells like home!
    You should try all of the recipes, they are all quite good. Not so healthy but definitely a comfort food 🙂

    And dumplings with sauerkraut and meat is a Czech specialty. Don’t forget to add bacon and caraway seeds in the kraut

  • Carol Deml November 19, 2013, 7:53 am

    I found this recipe but I am a little confused about the dough that is shown in the directions. I tried to translate the page using the websites translate button but it still isn’t clear to me on the directions and the measurements. Is there any way you can translate this for us and put it on this website for us? It looks so good and I would love to try it. The link below should take you to the website and recipe. Thank you in advance if you can help out.

  • Tana April 16, 2015, 8:27 am

    My Czech Grandmother made Sauerkraut soup when we stayed with her on the farm. It was my and my sister’s favorite. It had no meat just her home made sauerkraut with caraway seed, potatoes and slurry of flour and milnot I believe. We liked it so well we would ask for it for our birthday’s. Grandma would make us a half gallon of soup and a fresh loaf of rye bread with caraway seed and we thought we had died and gone to heaven! I have tried to make it but it is never as I remember it. I am excited to try these recipes!

  • Tanja April 19, 2015, 7:31 pm

    Sounds like a real Czech grandma! Did you come to see there during summer break or something?

  • Petra November 13, 2015, 12:45 am

    To be fair I would use more like spanish chorizo or hungarian Bratwurs much better flavours to polish sausage

  • Tanja December 13, 2015, 4:42 pm

    Oh, ok, I got to try that! I thought Spanish chorizo was spicy, no?

  • Dorinda Iverson (preputin) March 24, 2016, 9:08 pm

    My grandpa used to make sauerkraut and also a rutabaga kraut that we would make a dark roux for. Can you help me with a recipe for that type of sauerkraut and roux recipe?? Please..

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