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Dinner Tonight: Sauerkraut and Sausage Paprikash

This dish began at the grocery store, where I kept walking by displays of prepared sauerkraut and started figuring out ways to use them. In the local markets here in Estonia, old woman hock huge tubs of the stuff, home-fermented and incredibly fresh. Initially I was looking for a quick choucroute garnie-style meal with various sausages (I'm still on the lookout for that recipe, though this version by Serious Eater Kerry Saretsky is very tempting) but went with a paprikash-style stew from Simply Recipes instead.

The term "paprikash" is used loosely here to describe something made with both paprika and sour cream. It lends the soup its gorgeous color. I subbed in smoky kielbasa for the original recipe's frankfurters, which gave the whole thing a pleasant flavor.

I was pretty impressed with this recipe. It's an easy meal—the deep flavor belies the short cooking time, thanks mostly to the tangy sauerkraut and all that fermentation. Traditional dill and caraway seed round things out with some herbiness. Overall hearty and satisfying, it's also quite inexpensive since the meat is used as a seasoning instead of the main event.

But the cheapness could go even further with the addition of potatoes, either on the side or cooked right into the stew. This also might help mellow the sour flavor, which could be too acidic for some.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living for the year in Tartu, Estonia.

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