Tuesday, September 28, 2004

mmm pickle soup

I've been writing about pickles so much on this blog I can't believe I haven't posted this yet.

I discovered pickle soup (zupa ogorkowa) at Borscht, Vodka & Tears when Marion and I went there earlier this year. I was smitten - a slightly thickened broth packed with potatoes and grated pickles. Just the right amount of sour mixed with the dill flavour to make a winter favourite.

So I went digging for recipes. There's a lot of variations - some thicken the soup with eggs, or flour. Many have celery, some add leeks which I'm keen to try. The version I've been making has won a lot of converts. Sarah makes it endlessly and Shane just asked me for the recipe. It's a great soup for when you're feeling sick - a kind of vegetarian chicken soup replacement.

A note on ingredients:

  • Using instant stock makes this very quick but of course using real stock would make it so much better. The traditional recipes recommend beef.
  • You need pickles that are good and sour - not sweet. Bick's Polski Ogorki are good, so are the tinned Israeli ones you can find at some supermarkets. Avoid any Australian ones unless they come from a good Polish deli.
Now go get:
  • 6 cups stock (I use Massel's fake Chicken)
  • 1 medium carrot, diced very small
  • 1 big potato, diced smallish
  • 1/2 onion minced
  • 6 big pickled cucumbers, grated or finely chopped.
  • pickle juice from jar
  • 1 cup sour cream and more to serve.
  • a little flour
  • dill
  • butter
  1. Heat the stock up and add the potato. Leave it to simmer while you saute the onion slowly in some butter.
  2. Add the carrots to the onion for a minute, then the pickles.
  3. When the potatoes are almost tender add the carrots, onion and pickles to the pot. Continue to simmer until the potatoes are nice.
  4. Mix two teaspoons of flour with the sour cream then slowly stir into the soup to thicken it.
  5. The sour cream might break up and look a bit mucky but that's ok.
  6. Taste the soup and add some of the pickle juice to taste - the sour taste should be distinctive but not outta control.
  7. Serve with masses of chopped dill, rye toast and more sour cream for the dairy pigs.
This is a very easy soup - it's the pickles that make it taste so good. So feel free to muck around with the recipe and let me know how you go. Other thickening tricks could be good too if you want it thicker - this version is still very thin.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Tatiana K. said...

I'm Russian and have eaten this soup since I was old enough to chew. However most folks make it with barley which adds a lovely background flavor and is a great foil for the sour-salty flavors.
Give it a try and add a handful next time you make it.

esther said...

Hey that sounds great. it sure is good soup huh.

eivan said...

Hi!
I'm Margaret ( MaƂgosia ) from Poland and I want to tell you how you can make traditional polish cucumbers at home. You need not-peel 'ground' (short ones)cucumbers, dills with seeds, peel garlic, peel horseradish, salt and leafs of grape. At first you put the leafs in the bottom of jar, then you put cucumbers, big bundle of dill, few cloves and pice of horseradish. Everything you flood with salt (2 spoonful) water. Then you close the jar and put it somewhere for about 2 weeks. And notice that some water can go out from the jar. So, good luck and bon appetite!

esther said...

hello Malgosia, thank you so much for your comment. I tried making pickled cucumbers this way last year but some of them went soft. Most were good. we didn't have any horseradish though so i will try and find some for next season.

Stephanie Holladay Johnson said...

I made this all in one pot and used milk and flour as a thickener. I liked the bite of it and the creaminess. I served it with Mayo rolls. So, we had Pickle soup and mayo rolls. My husband did not believe that's what it was at first. Thank you so much for this recipe. Can I put it on my blog and credit back to you? Thanks.