(ŻUREK NA ZAKWASIE)
For the rye sourdough starter:
- 4 heaping tablespoons of whole meal rye flour
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 Bay leaves
- 4-5 grains of allspice
- 2 grains of juniper
- A quarter size piece of rye sourdough bread
- 4 cups of pre-boiled, warm water
- 1 stoneware or glass jar (ideally at least a half-gallon container with a lid)
For the broth:
- 2 large carrots
- 1 small parsley root (remove the leaves and set aside to use for later)
- 1 spring pore
- 1 small celery root
- 1 small white onion
- 12 cups of water
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the rest of the soup:
- ½ lbs. white sausage or 2 pieces
- ¼ lbs. sight, smoked bacon or 1.5 pieces
- ¼ lbs. smoked sausage or 2 slices
- ¾ cups of rye sourdough starter
- A handful of dried mushrooms
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 3 teaspoons of marjoram leaves
- handful of fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tspn. of cumin
- 3-4 allspice grains
- 1-2 tablespoons of finely grated, fresh horseradish
- ½ cup of light cream
- 2 tablespoons rye flour
- 4 hardboiled eggs
- handful of fresh parsley leaves (6-7 stems)
The sour-rye soup is a popular national, Polish dish. Many regions of Poland have their own version, preparing it and serving it according to their own local traditions. Although a popular dish all around the country, the soup is an especially big tradition of the Sub-Carpathian region, considered one of its most popular dishes. It’s difficult to find anyone in this part of Poland who is not familiar with the sour-rye soup. The Rzeszow style soup has even been included on Poland’s List of Traditional Products among a number of other regional specialties from other areas of Poland. It’s a very flavorful, warming and hearty soup, and, enjoyed with a side of rye bread it makes for a full meal!
START WITH THE RYE SOURDOUGH STARTER:
- A true Polish sour-rye soup is made on the base of a rye sourdough starter. You will need to prepare the starter at least 3 days in advance of cooking the soup.
The starter is just one of the sour-rye soup ingredients. It is also sometimes referred to as pickled sour-rye soup.
A finished sourdough starter can be kept in a glass container in the fridge for about 1.5 weeks.
- Prep 4 cups of warm water (room temperature) in your stoneware or glass jar.
- Sift the whole meal rye flour into the water.
- Peal the garlic cloves and add them into the jar.
- Add the Bay leaf, allspice and juniper.
- Stir all the ingredients together with a wooden or plastic spoon (do not use a metal spoon – this will kill the bacteria).
- Optional: Add in the quarter piece of rye sourdough bread.
- Make sure the bread piece and the garlic are fully immersed in the liquid. If they rise above it, they may mold and ruin the starter.
- Cover the jar with your lid, leaving a bit of space open for air. If your jar does not have a lid you can take a piece of gauze or a piece of cloth and place it on top of the jar and secure with a rubber band.
- Set the starter aside in a dark, warm area of your kitchen for approximately 3-5 days. During this time do not disturb the contents in the jar. Do not stir the ingredients or move the jar from place to place. After 3-5 days take the rye bread piece out of the jar, remove the foam formed at the top of the liquid and leave to set for one more day.
- On the last day strain the starter and transfer over to a new dish. It’s now ready to use for the soup!
NOW YOU CAN MAKE YOUR SOUR-RYE SOUP:
Now that your rye sourdough starter is ready you can cook Poland’s favorite sour-rye soup! Here’re what to do next:
- In a medium sized pot, char the onion (cut into quarter-sized pieces) and then pour over it with 12 cups of water.
- Peel the remaining vegetables and add into the pot along with the herbs and spices.
- Allow the vegetable stock to come to a boil and then lower the temperature and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Once the stock is ready remove the vegetables and add in the meats (sausages and bacon). Allow the meat to simmer in the broth until fully cooked.
- Add in the dried mushrooms, herbs and spices (thyme leaves, cumin, marjoram, garlic) and give the broth a stir.
- In a separate bowl combine a ½ cup of cream with 3 tablespoons of rye flour. Whisk together until fully smooth and then pour over into the broth.
- Add in ¾ cups of rye sourdough starter and stir.
- Take 1.5 tablespoons of fresh, ground horseradish and stir into the soup.
- Allow the soup to continue to simmer for another few minutes to allow all the flavors of the ingredients to mix and blend together.
- In the meantime, chop a handful of fresh parsley leaves and toss them into the soup for some added freshness.
- Salt and pepper to taste and give the soup one final stir.
Serve and enjoy:
- Place a boiled egg in each bowl, cut into 8 lengthwise pieces.
- Cut the sausages into smaller, quarter sized pieces and place in each bowl along with the egg.
- Pour your sour-rye soup over the boiled egg and meat in each bowl.