Saturday, February 1, 2020

Unique Polish Winter Soups - Dill & Sauerkraut

Witamy!  Peter’s Mom, who grew up in Poland, often recalled that soup was always an important part of a Polish dinner. Back in the day, appetizers were not served for every day meals, but soups were traditionally served as the first course of dinner - especially in winter when hardworking Poles craved thick, fragrant, creamy, hearty nourishing soups served in deep round bowls.  Before the days of coffee and tea at breakfast, country folks would often start their mornings with a steamy bowl of hearty soup to provide nourishment for the day’s work.  Here are two delicious soups that are uniquely Polish, revered by Poles all over the world.

Dill Soup (Koperkowa) can be served a number of ways:  with either hard boiled eggs as an enhancer (as with the iconic sorrel soup), or  with dribbled batter dumplings (lane kluski in Polish).  When Peter was young, “dribbles”  were an infrequent treat, even though they are incredibly easy to make.  Other popular choices are to serve Dill Soup with potatoes (cooked in the soup), with rice, or even egg noodles.  Regardless of the starch you choose, this is a tasty traditional soup that everyone will love.  

Serves 4
2 tablespoons butter, divided
¾ cup dill, finely chopped
6 cups stock, either: beef, veal, chicken or vegetable
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup cold water
1 egg yolk
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet, add ¼ cup dill and sauté gently over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
·       Heat stock to boiling and add the dill and butter mixture. 
·       Dissolve the flour in the cold water and add to the stock.  Bring the stock back to a low boil.
·       If you are cooking the string dumplings (see below), dribble the dumpling mixture into the boiling stock and cook for one minute.  Keep soup at a low boil to avoid disintegrating the dumplings.

·       Beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of butter.  Gradually add 1 cup of the boiling stock and stir well.  Stir in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth.  Return this mixture to the soup pot.
·       Simmer for a minute or two but do not boil.  Turn off the heat, add the remaining dill, stir, cover and let stand for 2-3 minutes.
·       Adjust seasonings.

String Dumplings  (Lane Kluseczki)
1 large egg
3½ tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
·       Mix egg with flour and salt.  Beat with whisk or fork for 2 minutes.  Dribble batter slowly into boiling stock from a spoon.

Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusniak) (serves 10) 

1 pound sauerkraut
6 cups beef broth
¼ pound bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 tables flour
3 tablespoons cold water
Salt & pepper

Rinse the sauerkraut well in cold water and chop finely. Cover with water and simmer in a covered pot for about 30 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil off (add water if needed).  Add the broth. Sauté the bacon and onions until golden brown.  Sprinkle in the flour and sauté for 5 more minutes while stirring. If the mix is very pasty, add some cold water, a tablespoon at a time, and stir.  Add this onion mix and carrot to the sauerkraut and bring to a low boil. Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Serve with boiled potatoes drizzled with butter and fresh chopped dill.

If you liked these recipes, please check out our globally acclaimed cookbooks:  Polish Classic Recipes and Polish Classic Desserts, available autographed on this website or from any on-line bookseller such as Amazon, world-wide.