Polish Sour Ryemeal Soup – Żurek
The sour rye soup (Polish: żur, żurek; Belarusian: жур, кісяліца;, zhur, kisyalitsa; Czech: kyselo) is a soup made of soured rye flour, vegetables and meat (usually boiled pork sausage or pieces of smoked sausage, bacon or ham). The base for this soup, is sourdough, created by fermenting rye flour with water in a jar. Be sure to begin making the sourdough five days before you want to prepare the soup.
In Poland żurek is traditionally eaten at Easter, but is also popular during other parts of the year. The Easter version always contains spicy white sausage (something like German bratwurst) and it is served with hard-boiled egg. In Poland this soup is sometimes served in an edible bowl made of bread.
My version is lighter than traditional, by making a vegetable broth instead of using bone broth. I also used the horseradish and eggs instead of sausage.
- Rye Starter
- wholemeal rye flour - ½ cup
- rye bread - 1 crust from 1 piece
- garlic - 3 cloves (chopped)
- bay leafs - 3
- allspice berries - 5
- water - 2 cup (lukewarm)
- onions - 2 (peeled and diced)
- carrots - 2 (peeled and diced)
- parsley root - 1 (peeled and diced)
- potatoes - 4 (peeled and diced)
- celeriac - ½ (peeled and diced)
- vegetable stock - 1000ml
- fresh cream - 100ml
- horseradish cream - 2 tablespoons
- marjoram - 2 tablespoons
- butter - 1 tablespoon
- eggs - 6 hard-boiled
- Place flour and water in a jar and mix into a smooth batter. The consistency should be rather dense. Make sure you don’t seal the jar though. As the wild yeasts feed, they give off gas as part of the process, and so you need to allow these gases to escape. Add minced garlic, bay leaves, allspice berries and the crust of one slice of wholemeal rye bread.
Cover with a clean cloth and set aside for about 5 days in a warm place and give it a stir just once a day.
- Heat the vegetable stock in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, parsley, celeriac, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add garlic and turn the heat to low. Don't let the garlic get too brown because it will be bitter. Add to the soup.
- Add potatoes, marjoram and horseradish. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook at a low boil for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are completely cooked through.
- Stir in the sourdough (with spices) and the fresh cream. Raise the heat, and bring to a boil again.
- Serve while still hot, with cut in half hard boiled eggs and crusty bread.