Sunday, February 2, 2014

Polish Pickle Soup on a Winter's Day

    It seems like this winter will never end. When it isn't 40 below out, its snowing and blowing; it's like being trapped inside a snow globe. 
   Awhile ago I was dining at "Reflections", a Polish restaurant. One of their specials of the day was a Pickle Soup. I had my doubts-pickles in soup? I was reassured that the soup was a hearty Polish traditional dish guaranteed to cure a hangover and warm you up. It was delicious. Ever since then I've been craving the soup and searching for a recipe. I found my recipe in the pages of "From a Polish Country House Kitchen". 
  Its a quick and easy recipe that makes more than enough for leftovers during the week. I served mine with some schnitzel (the soup is mainly root vegetables, so you meat eaters may want something on the side) and onion dill rye bread. 

Sour Cucumber Soup (OGORKOWA)

1 tblspn unsalted butter
1medium leek (white and green parts) trimmed, rinsed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium carrot trimmed, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium parsnip peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 medium celery root peeled, trimmed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
5 cups chicken stock
3 large baking potatoes peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
One 32onz. jar of sour dill pickles and their brine
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
Generous 2 tblspn freshly chopped dill

Celery Root
Polish Dill Pickles-don't scrimp on the quality
Buy the best!

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leek and cook until softened.

Cook for about 5 minutes, the leeks should get a little soft,
you don't won't them to cook all the way through or brown.

Add the carrot, parsnip and celery root to the soup pot; pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 

Simmer down!

Place the potatoes in a separate pot, cover with water, and boil until they are cooked, but slightly firm,   approximately 7 or 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, strain the pickle brine and reserve it. Throw out any dill pieces or garlic that was in the brine. Coarsely grate the pickles using a cheese grater or the grater attachment on a food processor. 

Ta da! Its relish!

After the vegetables have simmered, add the pickles to the soup pot, as well as the brine, and the cooked potatoes. Season with salt and pepper (taste first!) and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. 

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or whizz it in a food processor. You want the end result to be a little chunky, not whipped smooth. Mix in the heavy cream and sprinkle with dill before serving.

Yum! This stuff will warm you right up!

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