Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
This sour rye soup is known as ‘zur’ or ‘zurek’. Its variant is also known under the name ‘barszcz bialy’ (that is ‘white borsch’) – when it is made of wheat flour instead of rye. It is one of the most typical dishes for Polish cuisine but may be also found in Czech, Slovak or Lithuanian menu. Most of the people (at least in my region) use the two names – ‘zurek’ and white borsch – in exchange.
Most of Poles use a kind of base for that soup, that one may buy in every grocery. It is sold in bottles (let it be plastic or glass ones) or in plastic bags. It is called just like a soup – ‘zurek’ or white borsch. The below recipe shows how to make a soup with the base. Having into consideration that most of my readers might not have the possibility to buy the base in the shops around their neighborhood, the recipe for the ‘zurek’ base will be presented in separate article.
The recipe is prepared for 4 people.
* 0.5 liter of water (with vegetable or meat bouillon)
* 1 kilo of potatoes
* 1 carrot
* 1 parsley
* A small piece of celery
* A piece of onion
* Spices (salt, pepper, marjoram, bay leaf and allspice)
One may also add mushrooms so that it would have better taste. Most of people add also sausage (traditional Polish kielbasa) or hard-boiled egg. The egg (and the white borsch in general) is a must during Easter Holidays.
You need to boil half of the liter of water (in bigger pot – as the additions will significantly increase the amount of soup) with vegetable or meat bouillon. You must chop potatoes into square pieces and add them to soup together with vegetables (chopped carrot and parsley, just a small piece of celery and couple leaves f onion). If you decide to add mushrooms, it is the right moment to do so.
When the potatoes are cooked you can add the sour base for soup (not before – otherwise the potatoes will be too hard). It is sour liquid prepared especially for that dish. Boil the whole soup still for couple of minutes. Try out and add spices – salt and pepper – depending on the taste. You may also add bay leaf and allspice. Marjoram is a must in ‘zurek’ – and it should be added at the end of cooking.
If you decide to add ‘kielbasa’ or hard-boiled egg, do it at the very end of cooking. They can be chopped but in many restaurants you will be served ‘zurek’ with a big piece of kielbasa in it. Some of places serve sour soup in bread.
‘Zurek’ is traditional soup for Easter Holidays. On Easter Saturday people bring food that was blessed by the priest in the church. There is the tradition that those products (kielbasa and egg) should be added to the soup that is afterwards eaten on Easter Sunday.