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.

Pea Salad

In earlier times this would have been made with bottled or tinned garden peas – nowadays I make this with cooked frozen peas.

The peas and Gouda cheese make this salad sweet and creamy.

Ingredients

Around 400ml of frozen peas -cooked and cooled

4 hardboiled eggs – chopped

3 large gherkins – chopped into little cubes

200g of Gouda(or similar) cheese – chopped into cubes

1 small onion – chopped fine

2 tablespoons of Mayonaise (full fat is best)

1 tablespoon of Greek style yoghurt

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Method

In a bowl mix all the vegetables and the cheese together.

Add the mayonnaise and yoghurt and mix well.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with hot or cold roast meats or smoked Polish sausage.

 

Variation

I think the addition of 2 or 3 strips of chopped herrings as in my herring salads would be good.

Will try this later and let you know!

Ogórki – Gherkins

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Gherkins are cucumbers that have been fermented in brine or pickled with vinegar.

Botanically cucumbers are fruit although they are a vegetables from the culinary point of view.

In Polish the word ogórki means cucumbers.

Kiszone ogórki  means  fermented cucumbers –  either in brine or vinegar.

Letnie ogórki means summer cucumbers – which are  fresh salad cucumbers.

The Latin name for the cucumber is Cucumis sativus and it is a member of the gourd family and so related to pumpkins and melons.

It is thought the plant originated in India and then was taken to Greece and from there to northern Europe.

I have read that the making of pickles by fermenting in brine is over 4,000 years old.  This would preserve vegetables throughout the winter – well before the days of frozen food and supermarkets!

A quick look at the journey of the word  – Gherkin – according to several dictionary sources.

This is a word that started in Greece and travelled to England & America via Poland, Germany and The Netherlands.

Angourion – Medieval Greek for cucumber.

Ogórek – Polish for cucumber

Gurke – German for cucumber

Augurk – Dutch for a brined or pickled cucumber

Gherkin  – English for a brined or pickled cucumber

In Poland, July & August  are the main months for making gherkins at home and once when I was there at that time in my relatives’ houses every container seemed to have been put into use for a stage in their production.

Everyone has their own special recipe using brine and sometimes vinegar with the addition of garlic and herbs and spices – the most often used is the flower head of the dill plant – hence we get dill pickles.  Some methods are very quick taking just a few days others take longer.

The type of cucumber used is a different variety than the salad cumber it is shorter, fatter, often knobbier and has a lower water content.

I cannot at the moment give you a good recipe for making gherkins as I have rarely seen the right variety of cucumbers for sale in England – maybe now with more Polish shops I might see some next year and try out some recipes.

The bought gherkins I like are the Polish Krakus ones.

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Another type I like are ones you can buy in Lidl – these are made with sugar and vinegar and are sliced lengthways – they have only a slight vinegar taste and are sweet – I do not like the very vinegary kind.

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There are many uses of gherkins in Polish cookery – the most famous must be gherkin soup  – which I just love – but that recipe I will cover later once I start to write about soups.

Of course gherkins – form part of many salads.

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Gherkins Sliced Lengthways – a very simple salad

Gherkin and Tomato  Salad

Ingredients

3 or 4 Gherkins – cut into discs

4 or 5 Tomatoes- cut into half & then thinly sliced

1 small onion – finely chopped

Flat-leaved parsley  – finely chopped – to garnish

Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

In a bowl mix  together the gherkins, tomatoes and onions.

Sprinkle with a little salt and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the liquid from the gherkin jar (if none is available then use some lemon juice) and mix again.

Place into a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped flat leaved parsley and freshly ground black pepper.

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