Healthy Polish Soup Recipe – An Authentic Expeirence

Immerse yourself in Poland’s rich, comforting flavors with this authentic soup recipe. Savor the simplicity of traditional Polish cuisine as you unlock a world of culinary delight using easily accessible ingredients. 

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Polish Soup Recipe

Each spoonful introduces a heartwarming symphony of tastes, transporting you straight to the heart of a Polish kitchen. Indulge in a cooking journey that’s not just about food preparation but also about creating memories. 

Stir the pot, release the aromas, and prepare to share a moment of joy with your loved ones. This isn’t just a recipe; it’s a ticket to an unforgettable gastronomic adventure. Every bowl served resonates with love, nostalgia, and a celebration of Polish heritage

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen newbie, this soup is the perfect addition to your home-cooking repertoire. So, roll up your sleeves, get your pots ready, and let’s bring Poland to your dining table.

What Is Polish Soup?

Relish the traditional Polish soup, Zurek. This unique recipe begins with a sourdough starter made of rye flour and water, fermented over days to give the soup its signature tang. 

A hearty mix of smoked sausage, bacon, potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs follows, simmered until tender. With a liberal sprinkling of fresh marjoram, the soup develops an aromatic warmth. 

This zesty and hearty Polish soup is perfect for those seeking an adventurous blend of flavors and textures finished with a dollop of sour cream.

History Of Polish Soup 

Zurek, the timeless Polish soup, holds a prominent place in the culinary heritage of Poland, tracing its roots back to the 14th century. In medieval times, Zurek was a staple in peasant diets due to its simple, readily available ingredients. 

Over centuries, the recipe evolved, becoming richer as prosperity increased. This hearty soup gained fame for its unique sour flavor, derived from the fermented rye flour starter – a hallmark of Polish cuisine. 

Historically served during Easter, today, Zurek graces dinner tables all year round, standing as a testament to Poland’s rich gastronomic history and the resilience of its people.

Interesting Facts About The Polish Soup 

  • Zurek is customarily served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread, transforming the soup into a visually intriguing and self-contained meal.
  • The critical ingredient, fermented rye flour, often takes days to prepare, making Zurek a labor of love and patience that embodies the soul of traditional Polish cooking.
  • During Easter festivities, Zurek is often served with slices of white sausage and boiled eggs, reflecting seasonal abundance and celebrating rebirth.
  • Despite its long history, Zurek recipes vary significantly across Poland’s regions, with each family boasting its unique, often secret, additions to the beloved dish.
  • Zurek’s distinct sour flavor has made it an international ambassador for Polish cuisine, piquing the curiosity of food lovers worldwide.

What Makes The Polish Soup Special? 

  • Unique Flavor: The sourdough starter made from fermented rye flour gives Zurek it’s signature sour flavor, making it a unique culinary delight.
  • Cultural Significance: As a traditional Easter soup, Zurek holds cultural significance in Poland, symbolizing spring’s abundance and joy.
  • Versatility: The recipe is versatile and can be modified based on regional and personal preferences, reflecting Poland’s diverse culinary landscape.
  • Presentation: Zurek is often served in a bread bowl, providing a unique and eye-catching presentation that sets it apart.
  • History: The rich history of the dish, tracing back to the 14th century, lends an intriguing narrative that enhances the overall culinary experience.
  • Simplicity: Despite its complex flavors, Zurek relies on simple, readily available ingredients, reinforcing the charm of rustic, home-cooked meals.
Polish Soup Recipe

Ingredients List

IngredientQuantity/Measurements
Beet-root1
Onions2
Brown Stock1 quart
Red Wine1 glass
Thick Cream1 cup

Ingredient Tips 

  • Sourdough Starter: Be patient with your rye sourdough starter. Let it ferment for 3-5 days for the perfect tang. It’s worth the wait.
  • Smoked Sausage: Choose a good quality smoked sausage. It imparts a rich, meaty flavor to the soup.
  • Bread Bowl: If serving in a bread bowl, pick a sturdy, crusty loaf that can hold the soup well without getting soggy.
  • Marjoram: Use fresh marjoram if possible. It provides a more vibrant and aromatic flavor compared to dry.
  • Potatoes: Opt for waxy potatoes. They hold their shape better during cooking and add texture to the soup.
  • Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream at the end adds creaminess. If you prefer a lighter soup, feel free to adjust the quantity.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Ensure your eggs are perfectly boiled. They should be firm but not overcooked to maintain a nice texture in the soup.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

Here are some modifications for various dietary preferences:

  • Keto: Skip the potatoes and use more meat like sausage or bacon. Opt for a dairy-based cream to increase the fat content.
  • Paleo: Avoid dairy products and potatoes. You can replace potatoes with sweet potatoes or other root vegetables.
  • Gluten-Free: Make sure the sausage is gluten-free and substitute the rye flour with a gluten-free flour like buckwheat for the sourdough starter.
  • Whole30: Omit the dairy and ensure the sausage is Whole30 compliant. Replace the sourdough starter with apple cider vinegar for a tangy flavor.
  • Vegetarian: Substitute the meat with hearty veggies like mushrooms, carrots, or parsnips. Use vegetable broth instead of meat broth.
  • Vegan: Follow the vegetarian modification and replace the sour cream with a vegan alternative, like cashew cream. Omit the hard-boiled eggs.
Polish Soup

Recipe Directions

  • Begin by dicing fresh beetroot and onions, setting the stage for a luscious, dark stock to simmer in the saucepan.
  • Achieve depth by boiling and simmering the mixture for 1.5 hours, then strain it smoothly using a tammy.
  • Reheat the liquid, infusing it with wine and seasonings, adding an irresistible touch.
  • Gently warm the concoction without reaching boiling point, preserving its rich flavors.
  • Optionally, enhance the dish with scalded cream or serve it cold, providing a delightful choice for your guests.
Polish Soup Recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

Variations, add-ons, and toppings can make your Polish soup a personalized culinary experience. Here are some suggestions:

Variations

  • Add white beans or lentils for an extra dose of protein and texture.
  • Experiment with root vegetables like carrots or parsnips for added flavor and nutrients.

Add-Ons

  • Sprinkle in fresh herbs such as dill or parsley for a new, vibrant touch.
  • Stir in sautéed mushrooms or caramelized onions for an earthy note.
  • Incorporate diced-cooked chicken or beef for a meatier version.

Toppings

  • Garnish with fresh chives or green onions to add color and a subtle onion flavor.
  • Top with crumbled feta or goat cheese for a creamy, tangy finish.
  • Finish with a sprinkle of crispy bacon bits for a salty, smoky crunch.

Scaling The Recipe

Scaling a recipe like the Polish soup can be done relatively easily by following these steps:

Scaling Up

  • If you’re cooking for a larger group, multiply the ingredients proportionally. For instance, double all the ingredients if the original recipe serves four and you cook for eight. 
  • Be mindful of the pot size – ensure it can accommodate the increased volume. Cooking time may also increase slightly when scaling up.

Scaling Down

  • If you’re cooking for fewer people, reduce the ingredients proportionally. For example, halve all the ingredients if the original recipe serves four and you cook for two. This reduction usually won’t significantly alter the cooking time.

What Is Used For Garnishing?

For garnishing the traditional Polish soup, several options can enhance both the appearance and flavor of the dish:

  • Fresh Herbs: Freshly chopped parsley, dill, or chives add color and freshness. They also provide a nice contrast to the rich, hearty soup.
  • Sour Cream: A small dollop of sour cream can add a visually appealing swirl and a creamy texture that balances the tanginess of the soup.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Sliced or quartered hard-boiled eggs are often used in traditional Zurek soup, contributing to the dish’s garnish and hearty nature.
  • Crumbled Cheese: A sprinkle of crumbled feta or goat cheese adds a salty, creamy element, complementing the robust flavors of the soup.
  • Croutons: Toasted bread cubes or croutons add a crunchy texture contrast, making the soup even more satisfying.
Polish soup

Can I Make Polish Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

The Polish soup recipe adapts well to both slow cookers and Instant Pots. Here’s how:

Slow Cooker

  • Add your cut beetroot, onions, and stock into the slow cooker. 
  • Set on low and let it simmer for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 
  • Once the vegetables are tender, strain the soup through a tammy and return the liquid to the slow cooker. 
  • Add the wine, seasonings, and heat on high for another 20-30 minutes. 
  • Stir in the cream before serving.

Instant Pot

  • Combine the beetroot, onions, and stock in the Instant Pot. 
  • Secure the lid and set it to manual high pressure for about 15 minutes. 
  • After the time is up, use a natural pressure release. 
  • Strain the soup, return the liquid to the pot, and set it to sauté mode. 
  • Add the wine and seasonings, letting it heat for about 10 minutes. 
  • Stir in the cream just before serving.

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

Both homemade and store-bought broth can be used in the Polish soup recipe, depending on your time, resources, and preference.

Homemade Broth

  • This can deliver a richer, more robust flavor, mainly if you use bones and simmer it for several hours. 
  • Additionally, you have control over the ingredients and can limit sodium, additives, and preservatives.

Store-Bought Broth

  • This is a convenient option and can save significant time. However, choosing a high-quality, low-sodium variety ensures the soup isn’t overly salty. 
  • Organic or all-natural broths are often better choices due to fewer additives.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?

The Polish soup recipe is versatile and can easily be adapted to include different types of meat, fish, pasta, or vegetables. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Meat: You can replace the traditional smoked sausage with beef, chicken, or turkey. Consider adding chunks of ham or smoked duck for a more luxurious version.
  • Fish: For a pescatarian version of the soup, add chunks of hearty fish like salmon, cod, or haddock. Smoked fish can also add a lovely depth of flavor.
  • Pasta: Small shapes like orzo, ditalini, or even tortellini could be a great addition to the soup, making it even more hearty and satisfying.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add more vegetables to the soup. Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, or turnips work well, as do leafy greens like kale or spinach. Add diced bell peppers for a pop of color and a sweet counterpoint to the tangy soup.
Polish soup

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup

Making soup can be a simple and rewarding culinary endeavor. Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve a perfect pot of soup:

Prepping Tips

  • Mise en Place: Always prepare and measure your ingredients before cooking. This makes the cooking process smoother and less stressful.
  • Chopping: Ensure your ingredients are cut into even-sized pieces. This promotes even cooking and improves the soup’s overall texture.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh ingredients whenever possible. The quality of your ingredients will greatly influence the flavor of your soup.

Cooking Tips

  • Sweating Vegetables: Before adding liquid, sweat your vegetables (like onions, carrots, etc.) until softening. This process releases the aromatics and enhances the flavor of the soup.
  • Add Liquids Gradually: Don’t add all your liquid at once. Start with enough to cover the ingredients and let the soup simmer, then add more.
  • Low and Slow: Soups often benefit from slow cooking on low heat. This allows flavors to meld together, resulting in a deeper, more complex flavor profile.
  • Season Gradually: Don’t add all your seasoning at once. It’s easier to add more later than to try and adjust a soup that’s been over-seasoned.
  • Finishing Touches: Consider finishing your soup with a splash of acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) or a handful of fresh herbs. These final touches can brighten up the soup and add a layer of complexity to its flavor.

Nutritional Values  

Embrace a nutritious bowl of Polish beetroot soup. It’s a delicious way to boost your health, bursting with vitamins, minerals, and fiber from the beetroot. It’s a balanced, comforting meal option with good fats from the cream and a savory broth.

What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?

The total caloric content of a Polish soup recipe can vary significantly depending on the specific ingredients used, their quantities, and the serving size. Here’s a general estimation of a traditional Polish beetroot soup:

  • Beetroot: 35-60 calories per cup
  • Onions: 40-60 calories per cup
  • Stock (chicken or vegetable): 10-20 calories per cup
  • Red Wine: 20-25 calories per tablespoon
  • Cream: 50-100 calories per tablespoon

For a serving of approximately one cup of soup, the total calories range from 150 to 300 calories. This rough estimation can vary based on the recipe, added meats, garnishes, or other ingredients.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Polish Soup

The traditional Polish soup recipe can be adjusted to cater to various dietary restrictions, but as presented, here are some considerations:

  • Gluten-Free: The traditional recipe is naturally gluten-free unless the stock has gluten. Be sure to use gluten-free certified products if you’re sensitive or allergic to gluten.
  • Dairy-Free/Vegan: The cream used in the recipe is a dairy product. To make the soup dairy-free or vegan, omit the cream or use a non-dairy substitute like coconut or almond milk.
  • Nut-Free: This soup is naturally nut-free. However, always check the labels of store-bought items like stock to ensure they’re free from nut contaminants.
  • Low-Carb/Keto: Beetroot has a higher carbohydrate content than other vegetables. For a low-carb or keto diet, limit the quantity of beetroot or replace it with a low-carb vegetable like zucchini or cauliflower.
  • Halal/Kosher: Ensure the stock and wine are Halal or Kosher certified if this is a requirement for your dietary needs.

Health Benefits Of The Polish Soup

The Polish soup recipe has several potential health benefits, mostly deriving from its main ingredients:

  • Beetroot: Beetroots are rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals. They’re also high in nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. The pigment betacyanin, which gives beets their vibrant color, has been found to have antioxidant properties.
  • Onions: Onions are a good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, and folate. They also contain a unique type of fiber known as fructans, which can aid digestion and promote a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Bone Broth/Stock: If made from scratch, bone broth can be a good source of protein and contains nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It’s also believed to support joint health due to its collagen content.
  • Red Wine: Red wine contains several antioxidants, including flavonoids and resveratrol, which have been linked to heart health and longevity when consumed in moderation.
  • Cream: Though it should be consumed in moderation due to its high fat and calorie content, the cream does provide a source of vitamin A and certain minerals like calcium and phosphorus.

Nutrition Table 

How Can I Make Polish Soup Lower In Sodium? 

Reducing sodium in the Polish soup recipe can be achieved by implementing the following steps:

  • Homemade Broth: Consider making your broth or stock without adding salt. This gives you control over the sodium content.
  • Low-Sodium Store-Bought Broth: If you’re using store-bought broth, opt for a low-sodium or unsalted version.
  • No Added Salt: Avoid adding salt during the cooking process. Instead, let the natural flavors of the ingredients shine through.
  • Spices and Herbs: Enhance flavor with sodium-free spices and herbs. Garlic, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, and other herbs and spices can add flavor without increasing sodium.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh beetroots and onions instead of canned or pickled versions, which often contain added salt.
  • Watch the Wine: Some wines can be high in sodium. Look for a lower-sodium option, or consider omitting the wine and replacing it with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice for acidity.

How Can I Make Polish Soup Lower In Sugar?

The Polish soup recipe typically doesn’t have a significant amount of added sugar. However, the beetroot does contain natural sugars. If you’re concerned about the sugar content, here are a few suggestions:

  • Beetroot Substitution: Beetroots have a relatively high sugar content for a vegetable. To lower the sugar, you could reduce the amount of beetroot or substitute it with another vegetable, such as zucchini, celery, or cabbage.
  • Watch Your Broth: Some store-bought broths may contain added sugars. Opt for a broth with no added sugars, or make your own at home.
  • No Added Sugar: Do not add any extra sugar or sweeteners to the soup. The natural sweetness from the vegetables should be enough to flavor the soup.
  • Careful With Wine: Some wines may contain residual sugars. Opt for a dry wine, which usually has less residual sugar, or you could omit the wine altogether.
polish soup recipe

How To Serve The Polish Soup At Its Best?

Serving the Polish soup recipe can be done in a variety of ways to showcase its rich color and flavors best. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Soup Bowls: Ladle the soup into deep bowls to keep it warm longer and emphasize the beautiful color of the soup.
  • Garnish: Top the soup with a swirl of cream, a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley, and some finely chopped boiled beets for added texture and visual appeal.
  • Sides: Serve with a side of hearty rye bread or a fresh green salad for a complete meal. For a traditional Polish touch, consider serving the soup with pirogies.
  • Temperature: The soup is best served hot. If the soup has cooled down too much after cooking, gently reheat it on the stove before serving.
  • Individual Cream: As mentioned in the recipe, you can also serve the cream separately, allowing guests to add as much as they like to their bowls.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Polish Soup

Polish beetroot soup is a bold and flavorful dish that various sides can complement. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Bread: A hearty slice of rye or sourdough bread can provide a satisfying contrast to the soup’s smooth texture. If you’re feeling adventurous, try traditional Polish bread like chleb zytni.
  • Salads: A fresh green salad with a tangy vinaigrette can balance the rich, earthy flavors of the soup. Consider a traditional Polish salad, such as surowka, made from shredded root vegetables.
  • Pierogi: These Polish dumplings can be filled with various ingredients, from potato and cheese to sauerkraut and mushrooms. They make a hearty accompaniment to the soup.
  • Pickles: In Polish cuisine, pickled foods like cucumbers or cabbage (sauerkraut) often accompany meals. Their tangy flavor can offer a pleasing contrast to the soup’s richness.
  • Protein: If your soup is an appetizer, a main dish of grilled or roasted meat or fish could complement it nicely.
Polish soup

How Long Can We Store The Soup?

The Polish beetroot soup can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Let the soup cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container and placing it in the fridge.

If you want to keep the soup longer, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze the soup, let it cool completely, then pour it into freezer-safe jars or bags, leaving space for the soup to expand as it freezes.

Can I Make The Soup In Advance?

You can prepare the Polish beetroot soup in advance. Making it ahead can enhance the flavors as they have more time to meld together.

If you plan to serve the soup within a few days, you can follow the recipe all the way through, let the soup cool, and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat the soup on the stove over medium heat.

If you’re preparing the soup more than a few days ahead, you should freeze it. It’s best to hold off on adding the cream if you plan on freezing the soup, as dairy can sometimes separate or become grainy when frozen. Instead, add the cream after you’ve reheated the soup.

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

Leftover Polish beetroot soup can be repurposed in various creative ways:

  • Revive for another meal: Reheat and serve as is, perhaps with a new garnish or side to make it feel like a fresh dish.
  • Pasta Sauce: Reduce the leftover soup on the stove until it thickens, and use it as a sauce for pasta. Top with grated cheese or fresh herbs.
  • Stew Base: Use the soup for a stew or casserole. Add some protein (like leftover chicken or beans) and additional vegetables, and let simmer until everything is heated.
  • Risotto: Use the soup as a flavored broth in a beetroot risotto, giving the dish a deep color and flavor.
  • Borscht: Convert it to traditional borscht by adding shredded cabbage and potato chunks. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill.
  • Grain Bowls: Use the soup as a broth to cook grains like farro, barley, or rice for a flavorful twist to grain bowls.
Polish soup

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

While the Polish beetroot soup doesn’t require any particularly specialized tools, having the following kitchen utensils can make the cooking process smoother:

  • Sharp Knife: For chopping the beetroot and onions. A good, sharp knife makes this task quicker and safer.
  • Cutting Board: A sturdy cutting board is essential for safely chopping ingredients.
  • Large Saucepan or Dutch Oven: To accommodate all the ingredients and allow the soup to simmer without spilling over.
  • Sieve or Tammy: This strains the soup after it has simmered, ensuring a smooth texture.
  • Ladle: For stirring the soup as it cooks and for serving.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurately measuring the ingredients.
  • Blender or Immersion Blender (Optional): If you prefer a smoother soup, try to blend it after it has simmered.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Pre-Cooked Or Canned Beets For This Recipe?

While fresh beets provide the best flavor and color, pre-cooked or canned beets can be used if fresh ones aren’t available. If using canned beets, rinse them thoroughly to remove any excess sugar or salt.

I’m Not A Fan Of Red Wine. Can I Substitute It With Something Else?

Indeed, you prefer not to use red wine. In that case, you can replace it with additional broth or a splash of vinegar for a little acidity.

What Type Of Cream Should I Use For This Recipe?

Depending on your preference, the cream in this recipe can be either heavy cream or a lighter option, like half-and-half. A dairy-free alternative, like coconut cream, can also be used for a vegan soup.

Can I Add Other Vegetables To This Soup?

Yes, this soup is versatile; additional vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or cabbage could be included. However, remember that adding other vegetables might alter the distinctive flavor and color of the beetroot soup.

How Can I Adjust The Consistency Of The Soup?

You can change the soup’s consistency by adding more or less broth. To decrease and thicken the soup if it is too thin, cook it open for a little while longer. Add extra broth or water if it’s too thick until the consistency is right.

Healthy Polish Soup Recipe - An Authentic Expeirence

Healthy Polish Soup Recipe – An Authentic Expeirence

5 from 5 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: soup recipe
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

30

minutes
Calories

150-300

kcal

Polish beetroot soup is a timeless classic steeped in rich tradition. This vibrant, heartwarming dish showcases beetroot’s earthy sweetness, enhanced by onions, red wine, and spices. Simmered in a rich stock and finished with cream, it offers an unparalleled culinary experience.

Ingredients

  • 1 1 Beet-root

  • 2 2 Onions

  • 1 quart 1 Brown Stock

  • 1 glass 1 Red Wine

  • 1 cup 1 Thick Cream

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Begin by finely chopping the beetroot and onions into small, manageable pieces.
  • Transfer these chopped ingredients to a large saucepan.
  • Pour rich, dark stock over the chopped ingredients in the saucepan, ensuring they are well covered.
  • Apply high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, allowing the mixture to simmer gently for approximately an hour and a half. This slow-cooking process allows the flavors to meld together perfectly.
  • After simmering, strain the soup through a tammy, a fine mesh sieve, to create a smooth texture, discarding the solid leftovers.
  • Place the strained soup back on the stove, keeping the heat low.
  • Now add the wine to the soup, stirring it in for an additional layer of flavor.
  • Season the soup with salt, pepper, and cayenne according to taste. Mix well to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  • Warm the soup over low heat, ensuring it does not come back to a boil.
  • Add the scalded cream before serving, stirring it well to blend with the soup. This creates a creamy, rich texture. Alternatively, the cream may be served separately; if so, it should be cold.
  • Ladle the finished soup into bowls, serving hot with optional cream on the side. Enjoy your traditional Polish beetroot soup.

Notes

  • Beetroot Stains: Beetroot can cause strong stains, so consider using kitchen gloves when handling them and a dark cutting board that won’t show stains.
  • Variations: This soup is highly adaptable. Feel free to experiment with different spices, such as adding a bay leaf or some allspice berries during simmering for additional flavor depth.
  • Broth: Use a high-quality, richly flavored stock for the best flavor. You can use either vegetable or meat-based stock, depending on your preference.
  • Fresh Ingredients: As with any recipe, the quality of ingredients will greatly affect the outcome. Use fresh beetroots and onions for the best results.
  • Serving: This soup can be a starter or a light main dish. If serving as a main, consider adding some hearty sides to make a complete meal.
  • Storage: The soup tastes even better the next day as the flavors have time to meld. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat gently before serving.
Hanna Barnes

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