Tomato Soup

There are many versions of tomato soup – some people just add tomato puree or a tin of tomatoes to rosół, (chicken bullion). For many this was standard practice on Monday with any that was left over from Sunday lunch and also in winter months in the past when fresh tomatoes were not so readily available.

I prefer to make a more refreshing fresh tomato soup.

Ripe tomatoes make the best soup – if you are lucky enough to have your own from the garden or allotment then these will be great or look out for ripe tomatoes on a market rather than the hard bullet ones often sold for salads.

Little note from the Metro newspaper

My mother always served boiled rice as the soup accompaniment.

Many years ago, well before Poland joined the European Union, when there were not as many Poles living in England, one of my English friends went for dinner at at a Polish lady’s house.  On telling me about the lovely food she said ” …. we had tomato soup with rice in it!” My instant reply without thinking was “but tomato soup always has rice in it”.   

Ingredients

  • 700g – 800g of ripe fresh tomatoes
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – came be from a cube or powder
  • Salt & ground pepper to taste
  • A little granulated sugar – optional – might not be needed.
  • Boiled rice to serve

Method

 

  • Pour boiling water over the tomatoes in a bowl and leave to cool.
  • Skin the tomatoes.
  • Chop the tomatoes into quarter.
  • Chop the onion into fine pieces.
  • Place the tomatoes, onion and vegetable stock into a large saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil and then put on the lid and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  • You want the tomatoes and onions to have cooked away into the liquid -no large pieces left.
  • Season to taste.

Although sour soups are popular in Poland – tomato soup does not want to be sour.  Depending on the tomatoes used, I sometimes add a little granulated sugar.

  • To serve place a handful of cooked boiled rice into each soup plate.

Served here in my mother’s Crown Devon – Fieldings – Glenwood soup plates – made in England – 1939.

Barszcz – Beetroot Soup

 Barszcz  is the classic Polish beetroot soup.

Now this may just my imagination but beetroots in Poland just taste so much better and sweeter than the ones I have had in England, maybe it is the variety that is grown there or the soil.   I think you have to use home-grown or organic beetroot to get as good a taste.

I like the clear, meat-free, Lenten barszcz made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve and have tried over the years many recipes using fresh beetroots, which I have boiled or roasted and also used ready cooked vacuum packed beetroot and adjusted the taste with lemon juice or a little sugar.

 

 

I have never been truly happy with the results which did not seem to have the sweetness and flavour or the soups I have had made for me.

Nowadays the way I make  barszcz is my biggest cheat!

Many years ago I started to make my barszcz with beetroot concentrate as the base, with the addition of  vegetable stock and some grated beetroot to make it look authentic and this proved very popular.

 

A few years ago I was recommended to try barszcz from a carton – and would you believe it – everyone said this was the best barszcz they had ever had!

I have used this ever since.

Served in Carnation by Royal Doulton 1982 – 1998

Uszka (mushroom filled Polish pasta) are often served in barszcz or a dollop of soured cream is added on serving.

 

Szczawowa – Sorrel Soup

One of my earliest food memories is walking from our street in a little town in Lancashire to the fields beyond and picking fresh sorrel with my mum to make this soup.

At that time my English was limited and my mum was much amused when one of our English neighbours came to inquire about the “grass” that I had told her we had picked that morning to make into soup.

One of my sisters, much younger than me, came to visit a few weeks ago and out of the blue she suddenly asked if  I remembered picking sorrel.  She did not know I had just been writing about it.

Yesterday I had lunch with a new Polish friend who was born in Lincolnshire and whilst talking about food our mothers cooked, she too remembered  going down to the fields with her mother and her friends to pick basket-fulls of sorrel, much to the bewilderment of their English neighbours.

Rumex acetosa is sorrel – szczaw in Polish.

The word sorrel comes from the Old French  – sorele –  meaning – sour.

Sorrel belongs to the Polygonaceae family and it is related to the dock – Rumex obtusifolius and to buckwheat.

It has a pointed broad leaf which has a sharp taste due to oxalic acid in the leaves.

At the moment I am growing this in pots in the garden, when I do a sort out in the garden I am going to move some to a patch in the ground.

I tried growing Rumex sanguineus – red veined sorrel once but I found it tasteless.

Szczawowa is such a typical Polish soup made from fresh picked ingredients and has the sourness so loved by the Poles.  It is usually served with lots of chopped hard boiled eggs on top.

Note

Because of the oxalic acid in the sorrel do not use cast iron or aluminium pans.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 chicken wings
  • Lots of chopped sorrel leaves – around 500ml if possible.
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 1 coarse grated carrot
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock powder or vegetable stock cube
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • 125ml of soured cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped hard boiled eggs to serve – at least one per person

Method

  • Place 4-5 chicken wings in a pan of water and bring to boil and simmer for about half hour.
  • And the chopped onion, grated carrot  and peppercorns and bring them to a boil and simmer for another half hour.
  • Add the vegetable powder or cube.
  • Add chopped sorrel leaves – lots, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken wings (they are not served with the soup).
  • Add salt and more ground pepper if liked – it should be sour! (lemony but more so).
  • You can do this and then leave for it later – just bring to boil and then simmer when ready to use.
  • Add the soured cream and stir this in.
  • Have prepared some hard boiled eggs  – chopped finely.
  • Pour soup into soup plates and sprinkle the chopped eggs over the top to serve.

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation 1982  – 1998.

 

Tomato & Gherkin Soup

Several years ago after a large family gathering I had some gherkin and tomato salad left and decided to use this to make a soup.

It was really delicious and I now often make this soup either from left over salad or create it from scratch.

It is one of those refreshing summer style soups with a touch of sourness as loved by the Poles.

Ingredients

  • 8 tomatoes
  • 4 gherkins
  • 1 onion
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock – I use Marigold powder
  • 60ml  of gherkin liquid.
  • Chopped chives
  • Chopped parsley
  • Ground black pepper to taste.

Method

  • Slice the tomatoes and cut the slices in two.
  • Chop the onion fine.
  • Slice the gherkins and cut the slices into two.
  • Put all the ingredients(apart from the ground pepper) into a saucepan, bring to the boil and then let this simmer for around 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning if needed.

 

Served in Royal Doulton, Burgundy soup plates, 1959 – 1981.

Ogórkowa – Gherkin soup

Four years of blogging today!

I can hardly believe it!  I posted my first post four years ago today. The time has gone so quickly and there is still much more to do.

This will be post number 208 – so averaging at 1 per week.

Today it just has to be a very Polish recipe.

Ogórkowa gherkin soup is a classic Polish soup.

It is sour and as I have written before, this is a taste much loved by the Poles!

It can be made in the winter from stored ingredients but it is also very refreshing on a summer’s day.

The most traditional soup is made from brine fermented gherkins but you can use pickled gherkins.

 

Ingredients

  • 250g gherkins
  • 125ml  gherkin liquid
  • 1.5 litres of soup greens/vegetable stock (can be from cubes or powder)
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled – boiled or steamed
  • 125ml of soured cream
  • Chopped dill to serve

Method

If you have some potatoes boiled already this is a very quick soup to make.

  • Add the gherkin liquid to the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
  • Rough chop the gherkins.
  • Drop the gherkins into the liquid and simmer for around 20 -25 minutes.
  • Chop the boiled potatoes into rough cubes.
  • Add the potatoes, stir and simmer for around 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the soured cream and chopped dill.

 

Using brine fermented gherkins

 

 

Served in Royal Doulton, Burgundy soup plates, 1959 – 1981.

Using pickled dill gherkins

 

Served in Royal Doulton, Tapestry soup plates, 1966 – 1988.

Gulasz Soup

This is a soup I often make when I have some gulasz left from a meal, in fact I often make extra so that there is some!

There should be about 3 chunks of meat per serving – though of course that depends on the size of the chunks.

This works well with either beef or pork gulasz.

Ingredients

  • 350g of already cooked gulasz made with beef or pork, peppers and tomato such as in earlier posts.
  • 1 tin of cannellini beans – drained.
  • 750ml of chicken stock – can be from a cube or concentrate.
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée.
  • 125ml of soured cream.
  • Salt & pepper to taste.
  • Flat-leaved parsley or chives to serve & an extra dollop of soured cream if desired.

Method

  • Put the gulasz into a large pan.
  • Add the drainned beans.
  • Mix the tomato purée with the stock and add this to the pan.
  • Add the chilli powder.
  • Bring to the boil, cover and let it simmer for around 15 minutes.
  • Season to taste.
  • Gently stir in the soured cream.
  • Sprinkle on chopped parsley or chives to serve.

Note

Butter beans or haricot beans should be good too.

 

 

Soup plates are Royal Doulton – Burgundy – 1959 to 1981.

Rosół – Chicken Soup

This is my 200th post!

So it is fitting that this one is a Polish classic.

Rosół – Chicken Soup – must be the most well know of Polish soups and can be the basis for many others.

It is a clear soup which is known as a bouillonbulion in Polish. The word consommé which I thought was interchangeable with it, in fact denotes a clear soup which has been cleared with egg whites cooked in it.

Rosół is usually served with cooked pasta, often fine noodles and is the origin of chicken noodle soup.

In times gone by the chicken used would have been an old broiler – these are not as available here as much.  Nowadays for taste it pays to use the very best free range chicken you can get.

A whole chicken is simmered for around 2 hours with Wloszczyzna – Soup Greens.

I was talking with my Polish friend who lives in Leeds and she told me that the addition of  LubczykLovageLevisticum officinale leaves enhances the flavour.

I have this herb, which belongs to the celery & parsley family , growing in a pot in my garden but as it was still a bit early in the year when I made this, I have not been able to try this out – I must do so later!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 onion – halved (leave some dark skin on to add colour) or 2 leeks – trimmed
  • 3 whole peeled carrots
  • 2 whole peeled parsnips
  • Half a celeriac – peeled
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 2 -3 allspice grains
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Leaves & stalks of fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and lovage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Chopped parsley to serve

Method

  • Place all the ingredients into a large stock pot and cover with boiling water.
  • Bring it all to the boil and put on the lid.
  • Either lower the heat to let it all simmer or put the pot  into an oven at around GM 2 – 150°C.
  • Leave to simmer for around 2 hours until the meat is tender.
  • Remove the chicken.
  • Strain the soup.
  • Leave the liquid to cool and then place in a cold place or fridge preferably overnight.
  • Remove as much fat as possible from the top of the liquid.

Note

The soup should have some oczka – little eyes on the top – these are the fat droplets –  tastes have changed somewhat and less fat is prefered by many now.

To Serve

Heat up the soup gently to boiling and simmer for a few minutes.

Pasta & Noodles

This is the classic way of serving.

Very small pasta shapes or larger pasta cut into small pieces or noodles are all cooked beforehand and a small amount is placed in the soup dish and hot rosół poured over them to serve.

 

 

Chopped flat-leaved parsley is added on serving.

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998

 

You can add some of the cooked carrots, sliced, to the soup and/or some of the cooked chicken meat, chopped.

Uszka (Polish filled pasta) can be added and the convention is to add three or five uszka to each soup serving.

 

Note

The cooked chicken can be used in many dishes which require cooked chicken such as in the filling for pierogi.

I find that the meat is really tasty and succulent and makes super sandwiches with some mayonnaise.

Note

Rosół  is often used as the base of many other soups.