Sour Cucumber Soup Recipe


Wild Honey and Rye Modern Polish RecipesThe Poles enjoy all sorts of weird and wonderful variations of sour soups. As well as this sour cucumber soup (which must be made from sour cucumber in brine, not the sweet variety), there’s also a sour sorrel soup, made in the summer with fresh sorrel leaves, and z˙urek, a soup made – like sourdough bread – with a starter, or zakwas. Sour, sharp or tangy flavours often appear in soups, possibly because soups were traditionally a winter staple (often a meal in a bowl) and preserved ingredients would be added to boost flavours. This sour cucumber soup is perhaps the best one to begin with if you’re new to sharp-flavoured soups. There is a similar dish in Mamushka, by Olia Hercules, called Gherkin, beef and barley broth, a soup that is enjoyed in Ukraine and across Eastern Europe. I suggesting beginning with a meat stock, preferably made with pork ribs, but you can leave the ribs out if you want a meat-free version. You get bonus points if you make your own Homemade fermented dill pickles (see here) for this soup, but make sure you’ve left them to ferment for at least a week to get the best flavour.

  • Yield: 8 Servings


  • 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) pork ribs (leave out for a meat-free version)
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 allspice berries
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large potato, peeled
  • 14 oz (400 g) sour cucumbers in brine (ogórki kiszone), drained
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • 3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup (100 ml) double (heavy) cream (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Put the ribs, carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, allspice berries and a pinch of salt and pepper into a large pan. Cover with cold water (about 2 litres) and bring to a very gentle boil, using a spoon to skim off any foam that forms. Leave to simmer for 1½ hours.
  2. Chop the potato into small cubes and add to the stock. Grate the cucumbers and add to the stock. Cook for a further 15 minutes until the potato is soft. Sprinkle in the dill.
  3. Before serving, remove the ribs and the bay leaf. Shred the meat off the bone and add the meat back into the soup. Take the soup off the heat, stir in the cream, if using, and serve.

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