Vipavska corba is a Slovenian stew of sauerkraut, white beans and bacon. It is very similar to the favorite dish of Trieste, Italy: white bean and sauerkraut soup. But the Slovenians, being very fond of fatty soups and stews, add a pound of bacon to their sauerkraut soup.
The basic cooking of this stew can be done ahead and the soup put together in a few minutes. This is actually the traditional way of preparing this stew as the Slovenians prefer to cook all the ingredients separately and then mix them together at the last minute. Serve the Corba with a sour rye bread and fresh butter.
The following recipe comes from Ann Rogers’s delightful austerity cookbook, The New Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others (1966).
1 pound small white beans
1 two-pound jar sauerkraut
1 pound slab bacon
1 pound potatoes
1 tablespoon fat
1 tablespoon flour
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 or 3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
sour cream or yogurt
Soak the beans overnight. Remove the ring from the bacon but leave it in one piece. Cut the potatoes into small chunks. Cook the beans, bacon, and potatoes separately. Keep the stock!
Chop onion and garlic and saute them in one tablespoon of the fat that has risen to the top of the bacon stock. Sprinkle in flour and stir. Then add the beans, potatoes, sauerkraut, bacon that has been cut in dice, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Add more water if necessary. Cover and cook until heated through. Top each serving with sour cream or yogurt.
If one pound of bacon is too dear, the quantity can be reduced.