Sunday, February 13, 2011

Polish Pickle Soup - Just Like Babcia Makes (sort of)

I am a person who is exceptionally proud of my heritage.  

I'm 100% Polish.  Both my parents were born there and immigrated to the US when they were pre-teens. My brother and I were born in the States but thanks to Mom, Dad, and our grandparents, we grew up to be very appreciative of our culture.  

Baby Brother and I
We spoke Polish before we spoke English and spent countless Sundays, holidays, and summer nights at Babcia and Dziadzia's (grandmother and grandfather) house, eating delicious Polish food.

Babcia and me.
I love all my grandparents but my maternal grandmother, Babcia Kazia, and I have a close relationship.  She also happens to live downstairs from me.  With her so close and the fact that she just turned 84, I want to make sure that I learn as many of her Polish recipes that I can.

However, there is a slight problem.  None them are written down.  Every thing that she makes - pierogi, golabki, soups, pastries, etc. - she makes from memory.

So all of the recipes I will be attempting to make will be based on how Babcia tells me to make it, along with some slight variations of my own and some I picked up from my mom - not from any actual recipes.

1st Recipe: Polish Pickle Soup (trust me, it's delicious!)

I wanted to tackle this recipe first - one, because it is my FAVORITE soup and two, because it doesn't require a whole lot of prep work like some of the other Polish dishes.  Felt it was best to ease myself into this without getting overwhelmed and discouraged.

This is what you'll need to get started:

2 boxes of chicken stock (or 8 cups of your own)
celery, diced
carrots, diced
potatoes, diced
1 jar of Polish pickles (those in brine are the best)
sour cream & dill for topping (optional)

Oatmeal?  Yea, oatmeal. Most recipes for this soup call for milk, but my mom's best friend said to use oatmeal to thicken the soup.  This works out great for me since I don't drink milk.

  • Add chicken stock, celery, carrots, potatoes, and oatmeal (I used about 3/4 of a cup) and bring to gently boil, until potatoes are fork tender.

  • While the stock is heating up, use a box grater to grate the pickles. 
    • The pickles in brine are the best because they add great flavor and salt to the soup, but they may be hard to find.  I get mine from the Polish market down the street from my house.  If you can't find them, regular polish pickles will do, but you might have to adjust the seasoning to get the right flavor.

  • After the potatoes are cooked, add the grated pickles.  Mix well and let the soup come together for a little bit (like 3-4 minutes).  No need to add salt if you used pickles in brine.  I just added some pepper and little bit of this Polish seasoning I had.

And that's it.  You've just made Polish Pickle Soup!

nom nom nom
Serve with a dollop of sour cream & chopped dill if you'd like.

So as we say in Polish - Smacznego!


Emily said...

Great job, Lali....looks great and I'm sure it taste yumm!

Anonymous said...

Now THIS is what I've been waiting for :)

I'm scared to make it but it looks and sounds so good. I really, really love me some pickles.

Erica said...

Thanks Mommy! It came out really great. I gave some to Babcia to try so it'll have to get her approval.

@Kimmy - If you can chop veggies and boil water, then you can definitely make this soup. So easy.

Samantha Michalska said...

You could also probably thicken the soup with barley, that is what I do a lot of the time if I dont want to add extra dairy.

Sailing Foodie said...

That sounds delicious! I am so excited I am your roommate and get to go home and nosh away on this tonight!!!