Dill Pickle Soup

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I make a lot of dill pickles, but they don’t always turn out perfectly – sometimes they aren’t as crisp as I’d like when grown out of season, and so I have to find ways to repurpose them! While I do love a good bloody mary, pickle soup is another fantastic solution for ways to use any pickles! Make this soup on a cold winter night, it contains lots of flavor and hearty vegetables to warm you up.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 small russet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Quart sized jar brined dill pickles and their juice
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Spices including dill, Old Bay, smoked paprika, ground black pepper, and salt to taste
  • grated cheese, celery leaves, and green onions for garnish

Instructions

Roughly chop the onion.  In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, combine the onions and butter. Cook over medium heat until the onions are starting to become translucent, about five minutes. Peel, rinse, and chop the potatoes. Peel and mince the garlic, then add the potatoes and garlic to the pot. Stir for about two minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and potatoes are just starting to soften.

Pour in the stock, as well as approximately 2 cups of pickle juice. If you are using a full quart of brine pickles, pour in all of the juice in the jar. Bring to a low boil and cook until the potatoes are soft. Turn off the heat, and using an immersion blender or working in batches in a blender, puree the soup until smooth. Turn the heat back on to low and bring the soup to a simmer. Now, whisk in the sour cream.

While the potatoes cook, dice the carrots, celery, and pickle spears to whatever size you’d like to eat. Add these to the soup after it has been pureed.

Taste the broth and add spices to your liking – if you are using brine pickles it’s unlikely you’ll need any more salt! I added 1/2 tsp Old Bay, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, and a few shakes of black pepper.

Garnish with celery leaves, green onion slices, and cheddar cheese (optional) and serve with a big wedge of good bread!

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Campfire Pork and Sauerkraut Stew

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I always love an opportunity to go outside and have a simple campfire meal on a brisk fall day! I made this while I was camping recently – I packed the ingredients in a cooler and then all that was left to do was build a fire, put everything in the pot, and wait for goodness! This is a hearty dish for a day after hiking or just a cool fall evening. I enjoyed making this over a campfire in a dutch oven, but you could easily make this on the stove over high heat. The flavors of this might seem strange together, but trust me, they blend together incredibly well to make a delicious one pot meal.

Serves 3 – 4 or two hungry hikers.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork loin
  • oil for cooking
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 can of sauerkraut (or, I used about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 12 oz. of lager style beer, nothing good
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Italian spice blend
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Place a large dutch oven on a grill over hot banked coals. Wash and dice your potatoes, carrots, and onions into bite size pieces. Add these to the dutch oven along with about 1 tbsp of oil. Stir occasionally, and let the vegetables cook until the potatoes are starting to get tender, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the meat into bite size pieces. When the veggies are starting to get soft, add the meat to the pot. Sprinkle it with about 1/2 tsp. of salt, and stir frequently until the meat is cooked all the way through. It will turn from pink to a whitish – brown. Use a knife or spatula to test the doneness of the insides.

Now, add the Italian spice, brown sugar, beer, and sauerkraut with all of its liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil and stir to incorporate the meat, vegetables, and sugar together. Cover the pot and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy a beer while you wait, then uncover the pot and enjoy the stew by itself or with a good thick bread. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.