Soup plays such huge part in Polish meals and I will be writing much on the subject soon (I could write a huge book on Polish soups alone).
Soups are usually served with some sort of accompaniments or garnish.
Some soups have traditional accompaniments but every cook will improvise with what they have.
These accompaniments include a wide variety of pasta and noodles, dumplings, rice, potatoes, croutons, hard-boiled eggs, pulpety (little meatballs) chopped, cooked sausage and crispy fried bacon and so on …. the list is endless.
Many of the soups to which these are added are of the clear consommé type.
Pasta, Noodles & Rice
Very small pasta shapes are used or larger pasta is cut into small pieces.
The pasta, noodles or rice are all cooked beforehand and a small amount is placed in the soup dish and hot soup poured over them to serve.
Often a small amount of pasta, noodles or rice is kept back from when they are being cooked for another dish – these are best kept in the fridge.
Croutons – Grzanki made with rye bread
These are sprinkled on top of the soup when serving.
Semolina – Kasza manna
The Polish for semolina is manna as in the bible, Exodus 16:1-36, when the Israelites ate manna from Heaven.
This can be made with coarse or fine ground semolina.
Mix 150g of semolina and 1/2 teaspoon of salt with cold water to make a thin paste.
Place the mixture in saucepan and heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon.
As the mixture starts to thicken keep adding more water and continue heating and stirring.
Do this for a couple of minutes.
When you have a thick paste pour it onto a cold plate and leave it to go cold.
When cold, the semolina is cut into cubes and these are placed in the bottom of the soup dish and hot soup poured over them.
This translates as poured noodles.
My mother made these often when I was young.
Beat 2 eggs and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.
Slowly mix in 6 tablespoons of plain flour until the mixture is like thick cream.
To cook them, slowly pour batter into salted boiling water.
Cook for around 2 minutes and remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a colander.
You can cook these by pouring the batter into the hot boiling soup and then serve immediatly. However the starch can make the clear soup cloudy.
Mushroom filled Polish pasta – known as ‘little ears’ are added to barszcz – beetroot soup. Often served on Wigilia – Christmas Eve.
3 or 5 are usually added.
Little Polish potato dumpling (gnocci) – cold cooked ones can be cut up into smaller pieces for the soup.
Rolled up pancakes are thinly sliced and add to the soup.
Small boiled meatballs can be added
Chopped hard boiled eggs
The chopped eggs are sprinkled on top of the soup or several pieces ‘floated’ on top of the soup when serving.
These are made using pancakes which are filled with sauerkraut & mushrooms, meat or cheese then folded and rolled, then dipped in bread crumbs and fried.
I have found a firm that has these ready made for frying and I think they are good.
I fry them in quite a lot of oil on both sides and then put them in the oven at GM4 – 180°C for around 20 minutes.
I have not made them from scratch myself – I must do this soon .
Photo below from my Kuchnia Polska book,1971
This is similar to an English sausage roll, often made with a yeast dough pastry, and filled with pasztet (paté), meat, sauerkraut & mushrooms or cheese.
Photos below from my Kuchnia Polska book, 1971
I have eaten these in Poland in cafes and restaurants but not made these myself – something else to try out soon.
Bread can be served with soup – it is usually not buttered.