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.

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.

Mushroom Soup

Grzyby is the Polish word for mushrooms.

Mushroom gathering in Poland is a National pastime and has been in the past, a source of food and income for many.

Mushrooms can be dried, pickled, salted and marinated.

On those damp misty days in autumn when in England people would think – what a dull day,  a Pole would wake up and think – Great, a good day for gathering mushrooms!

Most Poles think the best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik, prawdzik or prawdziwek(translates as the real thing!), in Italy porcini and I try and use these whenever I can.

Packets of dried mushroom in England tend to be 25g or 30g and can be of mixed types.

My father knew all about mushrooms but never really passed the knowledge on to me – mainly because of the limited availbility of transport to suitable woods around where we lived in Lancashire.

On my first visit to Poland I did go to Białowieża forest and went with a guide and collected lots of mushrooms including chanterelles which in Poland are called kurki.

Dried mushrooms feature in many Polish dishes including ones made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve.

Nowadays, the common field mushroom – Agaricus bisporus – is produced on a huge scale and makes up a large part of commercial mushroom production with Poland being the 3rd biggest producer in Europe, following Italy and The Netherlands.

Mushroom soup in olden days was nearly always made with just dried mushrooms.

I make my soup with both dried and fresh mushrooms.

As with all soups the quantities do not have to be exact.

You can make your own vegetable stock or use cubes or powder.

 

 

Ingredients

25-30g of dried mushrooms – Boletus edulis are good.

250g of fresh mushrooms  – chestnut type are good.

Around 125ml of soured cream

1 onion – diced

Butter to fry the onion

1 – 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – can be from power or a cube (I use Marigold bouillon)

2 tablespoon of cornflour – optional

Salt & Pepper to taste

Chopped Flat-leaf parsley or chives to garnish

 

 

 

 

Method

Start the night before by preparing the dried mushrooms.

Put the dried mushrooms in a jug or bowl and add around 250ml of boiling water.

Leave the mushrooms overnight.

Strain the mushrooms from most of the liquor – saving this for later.

Chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces.

Gently simmer the mushrooms in a little of the liquor for about 5 minutes.

Gently fry the diced onion in some butter till they are golden.

Seperate the caps from the stalks of the fresh mushrooms.

Thinly slice the fresh mushroom caps  – if the caps are large cut the slices into 2 or 3.

Optional

If the stalks are not too “woody”  – chop them into very small pieces  – otherwise discard them.

Add the mushrooms to the onions, mix and fry gently.

Into a large pan or stockpot, add the onions and mushroom, the re-constituted mushrooms and the liquor from the soaked mushrooms and mix well.

Add the  vegetable stock and bring the mixture to the boil, then cover with a lid and leave to simmer.

You could put the pot into a low oven around GM2 – 150°C.

Allow to simmer for a couple of hours.

Add the soured cream and stir gently – check for seasoning.

or

Mix the cornflour with some of the soured cream, add and stir to thicken, then add the rest of the soured cream.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley or chives to serve.

 

 

 

 

Served on Royal Doulton  – Carnation – 1982 – 1998  &  Queen Anne side plates – pattern name unkown.

Pea Soup with Dutch Connections

I have written about Polish pea soup which is usually made with yellow split peas.

My mother could not always get yellow split peas and sometimes used Marrow fat peas.

My Dutch friend in The Netherlands often talks about Dutch pea soup which is made using Marrow fat peas or green split peas.

The Dutch soup tends to be made as a much thicker soup and pork, such as a chop or pigs’ trotters, is often used and also as smoked bacon or ham; potatoes are often added as well.

I have made my soup more on the Polish thinner side and used a chunk of smoked  Polish bacon. – You can use smoked gammon or smoked bacon – use it in large pieces – cut it up after it has been cooked in the soup.

Version 1 – Using Marrow Fat Peas

 

 

 

Ingredients

250g Marrow fat peas

2 large onions chopped

400g piece of smoked Polish bacon (boczek in Polish, which means side)

8 peppercorns

2-3 allspice grains

1 Bay leaf

2 litres of vegetable stock (can be from a cube or powder – I often use Marigold powder).

 

 

 

Method

Put the marrow fat peas into a large bowl with around 800ml of boiling water poured over them  and leave overnight.

Some instructions say to add bicarbonate of soda to the peas – I prefer not to.

The following morning, drain and rinse the rehydrated peas.

I have started using my large slow cooker to make soups – you can also use a large stock pot and once brought to the boil, leave it to simmer on the stove or in a low oven.

Place all the ingredients into the pot and switch on and leave to cook for 4 – 5 hours until the peas have cooked to a soft pulp.

You might want to add some boiling water and stir the soup if it has become too thick.

Remove the piece of bacon and chop or shred the meat, then put it all back into the soup, stir and heat for a few minutes before serving.

You can use the cooked meat on for example in sandwiches and only put part of it back into the soup.

 

 

 

 

Served here with scalded rye bread on tea plates by Taylor and Kent of Longton.

 

Version 2 – Using Green Split Peas

As version 1, but use 300-350g of green split peas.

The split peas do not have to be soaked overnight, just use then as they are.

So this is much quicker to make as there is no overnight soaking.

 

 

You can add some chopped chives or the green part of spring onions before serving.

 

 

Variations

  • Add one or more  root vegetables such as:
  • 1 or 2 carrots – chopped,
  • around a quarter of a celeriac,
  • 1 or 2 parsnips – chopped
  • 1 large potato – peeled and chopped
  • Use smoked gammon, ham or smoked bacon
  • Add a pork chop
  • Use pigs’ trotters

Note

I have found that these soups freeze very well – portionned up into tubs for future use.

 

 

Zupa – Soup

Zupa is soup in Polish – it is a huge topic and I could easily write a book on soups alone.

The words zupa and soup originate from either the French soupe which is a broth or the German sop which is bread used to soak up soup or the Italian zuppa which is a country vegetable soup.

I intend to cook and write about soups in 2019.

Soup is traditionally the first course of the main meal of the day – served usually sometime between 12.30pm to 5pm.

For a larger occasion, the first course can be a cold starter,  followed by the soup and then the main course.

My cousins in Poland found it hard to imagine a meal without a soup to start with!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Makłowicz, a Polish TV chef and cookery writer, writes  in one of his books

Polak bez zupy robi się smutny –  A Pole without soup becomes sad.

Nina Froud is a cookery book writer & editor of the 1961 & 1977,  English translations of the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique.

 

In an introduction to Polish food in Country Cooking, published in 1978, she wrote:

“Poles are hearty but discriminating eaters … they like food unashamedly and are clever at producing delicious dishes from simple and inexpensive ingredients.”

This I think is very true and especially so in the making of soup.

 

There are so many, many soups – where do I begin?

  • hot soups
  • chilled (cooling) soups
  • fruit soups
  • milk soups

12 Well-Known Polish Soups in Alphabetical Order

  • Barszcz ………….. Beetroot
  • Fasolowa ……….. Bean
  • Grochówka …… Pea
  • Grzybowa ……… Mushroom
  • Kapuśniak …….. Cabbage
  • Kartoflanka …… Potato
  • Krupnik …………. Barley
  • Ogórkowa ……… Gherkin
  • Pomidorowa ….. Tomato
  • Rosół ………………..Chicken
  • Szczawiowa …… Sorrell
  • Żurek ……………… Sour Rye

    These are just a start!

 

Soups are served with  Garnishes & Accompaniments

 

 

Polish Fairy Tale about Soup

My mother used to tell this story to me when I was young – I loved it then and since I have cooked myself I love it even more.

My mother would vary the ingredients so that each time she told it, it could be a different recipe!

Here is a shortened version of the story –

Once upon a time a stranger, with a knapsack on his back,  comes to a village and sits down on a path.

He gets out a little cooking pot and pours in some water from a container and lights a little fire underneath and sits waiting for the water to boil.

Whilst waiting he unwraps a shiny stone which was covered in a linen cloth and pops this into the water.

Slowly the villagers come out, curious to see what he is doing.

They ask him what he is doing – “making Magic Stone Soup – the best soup in the world” he replies.

As the water starts boiling the stranger takes out a ladle and takes a sip.

The villagers ask him how it tastes.

“Good”says the stranger “but would taste even better with some potatoes”

“I can get some potatoes” said an old man, who then went off to get them.

The stranger peeled and chopped the potatoes and added them to the pot.

After a few minutes the stranger again takes a sip of the soup, saying it tastes good but that it would taste even better with some onions.

“I can get some onions” said an old woman, who then went off to get them.

The stranger peeled and chopped the onions and added them to the pot.

….here my mother would go on adding ingredient after ingredient, varying them every time she told the story ….

The stranger again takes a sip of the soup, saying it tastes good but that it would taste even better with some salt & pepper.

“I can get that” says a young boy who then went off to get some.

When he comes back the stranger seasons the soup and declares it nearly ready.

“It just needs some flat leaved parsley to garnish it”.

“I can get some” says a young girl.

When she returns the stranger chops the leaves and sprinkles them on the soup.  

The stranger then ladles generous servings of it into bowls and handed them around to all the villagers and also has a bowl himself.

He then takes out the stone, wipes it dry and puts it away into his knapsack.