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!

  • 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.
Starter instructions:
  • 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!
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.

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.

Smacznego (Enjoy)!