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Polish-Style Pork, Sausage and Barley Soup

Polish-Style Pork, Sausage and Barley Soup
  

A few years ago business took me to Warsaw a few times, and I was fortunate to be in the company  of a Western businessman who had been living in Poland for several years and had developed a love for the traditional foods of Poland. (Most business travelers in Poland stay in the few luxury hotels oriented to international travelers, and eat in the excellent -- but not Polish -- restaurants in the hotels.)  This soup is my reinterpretation of the taste of Poland as I remember it from the small local restaurants of the city: a rich broth with pork, barley and smoked sausage, garnished with braised cabbage and dill pickles.

Polish-Style Pork, Sausage and Barley Soup

Serves 6.

1 lb fresh pork, cut in 3/4" chunks
1 pork bone (I used the bone that was left from a boned rolled loin roast)
3 C low sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, cut longintudinally in crescents
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 T tomato paste
6 C water
3/4 C barley
1 lb kielbasa smoked pork sausage, 1/8" slices
salt, hot sauce to taste
1/2 recipe Braised Cabbage
2 dill pickles, cut in sticks 2-1/2" x 1/8" x 1/8"

In a preheated 400º oven, roast the pork bone 20 - 25 minutes until browned. Place the bone in a crock pot.

Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan and brown the pork over high heat. Add the meat to the crock pot. Add more oil if necessary to the sauté pan and brown the onions, celery and carrots about 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables to the crock pot and then add the water, broth, tomato paste and thyme. Cook on high setting about 4 hours.

Remove the bone from the soup. Separate any bits of meat from the bone and add the meat back to the soup. Skim fat from the soup pot.  Add the barley and kielbasa and cook for another hour on high setting, until the barley is tender. Correct seasoning with hot sauce and salt.

To serve, spoon into soup plates and top with a knot of cabbage and 6 - 8 pickle sticks.

Notes.

1. No Crock Pot? This can be done on a stove-top in a heavy soup pot, in which case substitute "simmer" for "cook on high setting" in the instructions.

2. Make Ahead. May be made ahead and reheated, and in fact this may improve the flavor.

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