Zurek Recipe | Traditional Polish Sour Soup | Hangover Cure
What is Zurek Soup?
Zurek or Zur, as the dish is sometimes called, is a sour soup made from a fermented rye flour starter. Although its name is Polish, its other name ‘zur’ actually comes from the German word ‘sauer’ which means ‘sour’.
Traditionally served during Easter, it was usually served with a hard-boiled egg or a spicy sausage. The zurek recipe varies from region to region, but they all have one thing in common: that salty, creamy, and sour taste that’s unlike any other dish.
Zurek soup has remained a staple dish in Polish restaurants and has even made its way to Czech, Belarusian, and Slovakian tables. In Poland, it is typically served during breakfast but it also works as a hangover cure.
What is Made of?
Zurek soup is the kind of dish that will make you feel souper-human (get it?). One sip of this flavorful soup on a rainy day can instantly boost your energy levels. Zurek soup has also been dubbed by locals as Poland’s “Hangover Soup” because of its popularity as a remedy after a night of drinking too many beers.
The authentic recipe for zurek soup involves vegetables, bacon, sausage, and of course, a fermented rye mixture. However, you’re free to make it entirely your own. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you can replace the sour rye starter with buckwheat starter.
Zurek Recipe Origin
Zurek can be found throughout Poland, with each region having its unique version of the dish. Some regions serve their soup inside a bowl made of bread. In Polish Subcarpathia, their version of the dish called kisełycia is made using fermented oatmeal.
According to one legend, the recipe for zurek was created by “The Mean Innkeeper.” The legend says that a glutton had once offered the innkeeper a bet. If he could eat the innkeeper’s worst soup, he would give him a chest full of gold. The innkeeper, being a greedy man, prepared what he thought was the most awful soup, but it ended up being his best recipe ever.
No one knows the true origin of the recipe for zurek, but if the legend is true, I’m certainly glad that the innkeeper tried to make a bad dish. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy its one-of-a-kind taste. At first, the taste of zurek soup surprised me, but it’s the kind of dish that will grow on you. If you like similar dishes such as Spain’s Sopa de Ajo, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this dish, as well.
I use bought a zakwas, but if you want to prepare it, you can do it on your own.
To make the fermented rye mixture, also called the zakwas, you need to combine rye flour and water in a large jar. Don’t close the jar’s lid — instead, cover it with a cheesecloth. Allow it to ferment for five days.
Common ingredients for zurek soup include carrots, celery root, potatoes, etc. Chop your vegetables and drop them into a soup pot filled with water. Bring to a boil and cook for around thirty minutes before taking out the vegetables to chop them into bite-sized pieces.
While the vegetables are cooking, in a pan heat the oil and briefly fry the onion, sausage and bacon. Now, put everything in a soup pot along with the vegetables.
The final step would be to add your zakwas. Remember, the more zakwas you add, the sourer it will taste. If you don’t know how much zakwas to add, it’s best to gradually pour the mixture into the bowl, tasting as you go. Before serving your zurek dish, be sure to have a taste. Finally, add the hard-boiled egg cut in half.
Garnish it with salt, pepper, and fresh or dried marjoram.
Ingredients for 6 servings
- 250 g polish sausage sliced
- 100 g pancetta
- 2 pcs onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 pcs Carrot peeled
- 100 g Celeriac
- 3 pcs garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 pcs Bay leaves
- 2 pcs Potatoes peeled
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- a pinch Black pepper
- a pinch marjoram
- 2 pcs hard boiled eggs
- 2 l Water
- 5 tablespoons rye flour
- 5 pcs allspice barries
- 5 pcs garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 pcs Bay leaves
- 0.7 l Water
Originally published at https://www.worldfoodstory.co.uk.