Friday, August 16, 2013

Weekend Cooking: Zurek

A few weeks ago, I posted my first batch of pictures from Poland and one of them was of my favorite thing that I get in that country...ZUREK!  I can't even explain the euphoria of eating this soup every time it touches my lips.  I literally could have it every day.  I got a few comments asking about the soup, and what was in it.  It begged for it's own post.  So I went out and found this recipe which sounded right, which came from Chef Marek Widomski of the Culinary Institute in Krakow.

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

For soup:

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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rhapsodyinbooks said...

This looks and sounds amazing!

bermudaonion said...

Everything tastes better with beer! lol That soup sounds fantastic!

Hey, I want to read that! said...

Holy cow that sounds and looks good. I'll admit I cheat and buy bread bowls. I think there may be soup for dinner this weekend.

JoAnn said...

This looks so good... and I'm sure the bacon makes it even better!

Heidenkind said...

That sounds super complicated! Do you know if rye sour is used for other foods?

caite said...

now, let's be honest...Kathy is right...everything tastes better with a beer.

Beth F said...

Ha! I just read Tasha's comment... I was just going to say that it sounds easy! Anyway, yes, I can see how the bacon would be yummy in it. And I wonder about some smoked paprika, for both color and that smokey taste.

Alex said...

This sounds really good, especially since I like kielbasa so much. Thanks for sharing.

Carole said...

So interesting - I've never used rye flour!

Vicki said...

I've never heard of this, but it sure sounds good! I may try this!

Iliana said...

I'll be honest, I won't be trying the recipe as my cooking skills are so basic but it sounds very yummy :)

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I havenever heard of Zurek, but it sounds good. I'm learning a lot this week from Weekend Cooking posts.

Christine said...

Yummm!!!! I would love this soup!

Darlene said...

Oh boy this sure does sound and look good. I was one of those people curious about it so thanks for posting it. I think I may actually try it even though I've never done the whole sour rye meal. I could see screwing that up.

Anna said...

Of course it was missing bacon! Everything is better with bacon! :) This sounds really yummy.

Julie P. said...

Yum! I love rye!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm pinning this to make this winter!