Zurek is a type of "sour" soup that is made with a base of fermented rye flour (which takes up to five days, so it takes some planning). It is so hearty that it could be a meal by itself.
For rye meal sour:
3/4 cup rye flour
2 cups water boiled and cooled to lukewarm
1/2 lb. peeled and chopped soup vegetables (carrots, parsnips, celery root, leeks)
6 cups of water
1/2 lb. fresh white Polish sausage (kielbasa biala)
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups rye meal sour (see above)
1 TBL flour mixed with 4 TBL water
1 garlic clove crushed with 1/2 tsp salt
3 large hard-boiled eggs
1. To make the rye meal sour, mix together the rye meal and the water. Pour into a glass jar or ceramic bowl that is large enough for the mixture to expand. Cover with cheesecloth and let stand in a warm place for 4 to 5 days. This should make 2 cups. If the sour isn't used immediately, it can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.
2. In a large soup pot, bring soup veggies and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add sausage, bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and cook another 30 minutes. Remove sausage from soup, slice when cool and set aside. Strain stock through a sieve, pressing on the veggies to extract flavor. Discard veggies, skim the fat off the stock, and return stock to soup pot.
3. Add the potatoes and rye meal sour to the stock, adding salt if necessary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are al dente. Whisking constantly, add flour-water mixture, sliced sausage and garlic-salt paste. Bring soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender. Serve in heated bowls with half a hard-cooked egg in each serving.
Note: Once I made this soup and tasted it, it seemed like it was missing a smoky flavor. I figured out that it needed bacon. So I fried up about four strips, chopped it up, and added it to the soup at the end. In the future, I will probably add the cooked bacon when I add the potatoes, and give the flavor more of a chance to permeate the liquid.
And voila! You should have something that looks like this, which I had a restaurant. You get extra points if you make a bread bowl! And it tastes even better with a beer.
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