Hungarian sauerkraut soup – Korhelyleves

by | Jan 8, 2015 | Soups

The Hungarian name of this sauerkraut soup is korhelyleves whose literal English translation means drunkard’s soup. It’s eaten traditionally on New Year’s Day  as it’s considered to be an effective cure of hangover.  The soup’s sourish flavour can supposedly relieve the hangover’s unpleasant symptomes – in the absence of personal experience can I neither confirm nor deny it. But I think it’s even better than “hair of the dog”.

In my opinion cooking this tasty soup shouldn’t be restricted to this one day, it can be a perfect lunch at any time of year. The following recipe differs from the classic korhelyleves in so far as it includes root vegetables, mushrooms and rice, but doesn’t contain roux, it’s thickened with a flour – sour cream mixture.

Sauerkraut soupphoto:


  • 350 g (~3/4 lb) smoked pork blade steak
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1,5 l (~6 cups) broth
  • 400 g (~1 lb) sauerkraut
  • 100 g (~3 1/2 oz) mushrooms
  • 100 g (~3 1/2 oz) smoked sausage
  • 30 g (~2 tbsp) rice
  • 2+1 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. sweet ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 200 ml (~1 cup) water
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. sour cream

Place the smoked pork blade steak in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight.
Wash the sauerkraut if you find it too salty and sour.
Wash and rinse the rice.
Chop the onion; dice the carrot and parsley root.
Cut the blade steak into cubes.
Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a soup pot, add onion, carrot, parsley and pork cubes to fry them quickly.
Season with freshly ground pepper and sweet ground paprika; pour in half a litre of broth and cook over medium heat until meat and vegetables are tender, for about 30 minutes.
Add the sauerkraut to the soup, pour in the remaining broth and cook for 30-40 minutes.
Slice the mushrooms and sauté in 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet.
Add the sliced sausages, mushrooms and rice to the soup and cook further for 15 minutes.
Make the thickener by mixing the flour, sour cream and water together. Pour the mixture in the soup and cook for another 5 minutes while stirring frequently.
Taste the soup and, if necessary, add salt but probably it’s not needed since both the sausages and sauerkraut are salty.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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