Pickle soup

Ladies and gentlemen my personal favorite soup of all Polish traditional cuisine. Pickle soup is wildly popular in my homeland and for a good reason too- it is delicious, sour, hearty and one of the best hangover remedy there is.

My parents served it to our guests the day after the wedding reception and it was a big hit among all of our friends- Polish, American and Ukrainian.

Let’s get to it!

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I started by making a broth. You can make it with your choice of meat. I had chicken legs in my fridge so that’s what I used but it’s going to be great with ribs, chicken wings etc. You can use a ready chicken broth instead too if you prefer or you can make it double delicious and use chicken broth and meat. Then add bay leaves, whole peppercorn and whole allspice (I didn’t have it so I added ground one that’s why it looks like there is dirt in my cooking pot haha). Broth should be simmering for about an hour before adding the vegetables

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When the broth is simmering I got the vegetables ready. To be honest in Poland instead of celery stalks they use celeriac and parsnip too, but I know it’s not easily accessible everywhere, so I just replaced it with celery stalks which I love and they work perfectly fine.

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Next step is to chop everything other than the leek since we will remove it later anyways. The more carrots you use, the sweeter your soup will be. Make sure to remove the chicken legs (or your choice of meat beforehand) and the scum from the top of the water. You can add strip the meat and put it back to the soup, but it’s not a common practice. You can use the cooked chicken meat for pierogi stuffing (recipe here) or any other dinner that contains shredded chicken. Boil the vegetables in the broth for about 25 minutes.

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And now the main star of the soup- get your pickles ready. It is very important to remember that we add them at the very end. If you add your pickles together with the rest of vegetables they won’t cook! I learned that the hard way a long time ago.

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Shred your pickles on a grater. Again the more pickles and pickle juice you add at the end, the more sour the soup will be. Add pickles and pickle juice to the soup after all the other vegetables are done and cook for another 10 minutes.

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Now after everything is done the hard part is to add sour cream but not to curdle it. The way I do it is by putting sour cream in a little bowl and adding warm soup spoon at a time and mixing it slowly. After there’s enough soup in the bowl you can put all of that back in the pot.

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And we’re done! It is often served with bread in Poland. Now just sprinkle some dill on top if you’d like and enjoy!

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If you tried that recipe and posted a pic or comment use hashtag #EasternEuropeanRecipes I’d love to see how it turned out!


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of chicken legs (or ready chicken broth instead)
  • 4 big dill pickles
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 leek
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoons of whole peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoons of allspice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dill (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put chicken is the cooking pot and fill with cold water. Add bay leaves, peppercorn and allspice and cook on low for about an hour.
  2. In the meantime dice carrots, potatoes and celery and shred pickles.
  3. Remove chicken from the pot and the scum that created on the top of the water.
  4. Add all vegetables (except for pickles) and salt and pepper and cook until done, around 25 min.
  5. Add shred pickles and cook for another 10 minutes. (You can add a little bit of pickle juice to make it more sour).
  6. Take the pot of the heat. Put your sour cream in a cup and slowly add a little bit of soup to it spoon at a time. That will warm the sour cream up and prevent it from curdling.
  7. Add chopped dill on top.
  8. Done! Enjoy! 🙂

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