Colorful Kapusniak (Or, Polish Bacon, Blue Potato, and Red Cabbage Soup)

Smoky bacon and briny kraut marry in this colorfully hearty stew. Purple potatoes, multicolored carrots, red cabbage and red onion, garnished with bright green chives, crumbled bacon, and zingy dijon mustard. Intended to serve as a dipping ground for your favorite crusty bread.

Colorful Kapusniak
Makes about 8-10 servings

4 slices of thick-cut bacon
1/2 red onion, diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 multi-colored carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 head of red cabbage, sliced into thin shreds
6 blue potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch thick chunks
1/2 cup sauerkraut
1/4 cup sauerkraut brine
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne
2 quarts chicken stock
chives, for serving
coarse dijon mustard, for serving
sourdough or other crusty bread, for serving

Heat a frying pan on medium-high, then add bacon and cook until crisp on both sides. When cooked, reserve 2 tbsp bacon fat and transfer the bacon to a plate with a paper towel to degrease. Break the bacon into little pieces, reserving for later. In a large pot on medium-low, heat the bacon fat. Add the red onion and season with sea salt and black pepper, stirring to coat and cooking until translucent. Stir in the carrots and bell pepper and cook until tender. Add red cabbage and blue potatoes, and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in sauerkraut and brine. Add tomato paste, paprika, smoked paprika, and cayenne, stirring to coat. Pour in the chicken stock and increase the heat to high, then cover. Allow the soup to come to a boil before reducing to a simmer for another 15 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Serve with bacon pieces, chives, mustard, and crusty bread.

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