Zurek – sour rye soup
Here’s one of my favourite recipes – a hearty sour soup from Poland. No it does not have a sour taste, but it contains fermented rye flour which gives it a unique taste.
There are two parts to the recipe – making the zakwas – the base, and then the actual zurek.
The base for zurek
- about 1/2 cup of rye flour
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 2-3 cups of warm water
- bread crust (the best would be rye bread)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
Mix the flour with the boiling water until there are no lumps. Then set it aside to cool. Add bread crust (it should sink completely), garlic, and remaining water. Put the mixture in a jar or clay pot covered with gauze or a delicate piece of cloth. Let the mixture sit for 3-5 days at room temperature (each day mix the ingredients a little). As the flour ferments, there will be some lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast, and you will smell the sour rye-bread smell. You can use it immediately or put it in the fridge (it can be stored for about 2 weeks).
- Zakwas (zurek base) – about 0,5 l (use as much of the top clear part as possible and a little of the thick floury part to thicken the soup with)
- Soup vegetables (potato, carrots, turnips etc)
- 1 onion
- Sausage (chopped thinly (kielbasa if you can get them – otherwise any good German, Polish or Russian sausage will do)
- Smoked bacon, or ham hock, or kassler pork neck etc
- Dried mushrooms – I used about 1/2 punnet of fresh mushrooms
- Garlic (3-4 cloves)
- 2 bay leaves
- Some herbs
- Salt and pepper
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Stock if you want it more meaty
- Fry the onion, garlic and bacon.
- Chop the veggies and add to the pot.
- Bring them to boil with about 3-4 cups of water, add the sausage, and simmer until cooked.
- Add “zakwas” to the stock (about 2 cups from the clear part at the top and 2-3 spoons of the thick flour from the bottom).
- Bring to a boil, add spices, salt & pepper to taste
- Serve with quartered hard-cooked egg in each serving and rye bread on the side.
Original source: http://blog.polishorigins.com/2013/06/26/zurek-traditional-polish-sour-soup/