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6 Polish Soups Perfect For Autumn

Polish cuisine is packed with tasty delights suitable for any time of year, but when autumn’s chill strikes and people start seeking comfort and warmth in home cooked meals, Polish babushkas arm up with a diverse arsenal of flavor-packed soups perfect for those windy afternoons. If you’re not a fan of soups in general, here are six traditional Polish soups that will most definitely change your opinion. Well, maybe not the czernina, but the rest are absolutely worth it.

Żurek

Sometimes erroneously called the white borscht, the Polish żurek is prepared with fermented rye flour and highly varies depending on the region. A popular serving method is to present the soup in an edible bowl that’s made out of bread. In some regions you can find oatmeal, potatoes, kielbasa, eggs, potatoes or sausage in it. Unlike the real white borscht, which is called barszcz biały in Poland, the żurek’s thickening agent is based on fermented rye flour rather than on wheat flour.

Czernina

If you’ve never heard of blood soups before, the Polish czernina might put you off at first with its contents, because blood soups, also called black soups, use animal blood as one of the main ingredients for the broth. The czernina has a longstanding historical and cultural importance for Poles. Traditionally prepared with duck meat and duck blood, it can also feature sweet flavor boosters like plums, parsnip, apples, mushrooms, pears, prunes and even honey. Additionally, the broth can be clarified with clear chicken stock, giving the soup a mellower, less bloody appearance.

Rosół

Every country and culture has some sort of chicken soup in its culinary history and during the windy autumn months Poles battle the flu and other common colds with rosół. Compared to chicken soups in foreign cuisines, the Polish rosół is notable for its extremely clear broth and sometimes for the generous amounts of coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves. Slavs are famous for their love of cabbage and sauerkraut, so it should come to no surprise that either of them can be used in rosół for flavor, nutrition and electrolyte boost.

Sorrel soup

Often referred to as the green borscht, the Polish szczawiowa zupa (meaning sorrel soup) is popular in many Eastern European countries. During the cold months Poles serve it hot, although it can also be enjoyed in its cooled form in the summer season. Unlike typical sorrel soups found in other countries across the globe, the Polish szczawiowa zupa is traditionally cooked with broth instead of plain water. Smetana, eggs and potatoes serve as fillers, giving the soup a wide range of flavors, textures and color.

Zalewajka

The zalewajka is a simple and rustic, yet notoriously hearty and delicious autumn soup based on fermented rye derived from sourdough, boiled potatoes, dried mushrooms and the ever popular Slavic smetana. It gained popularity during the late 19th century in view of its simplicity and the common availability of the two main ingredients, which are potatoes and mushrooms. The present day zalewajka varies by region and sometimes the recipe may include meat, such as fried Polish sausage or bacon.

Grochówka

When many non-Slav foreigners think of pea soup, they often picture the bright green Instagram-perfect cream of pea soups, but the grochówka is much more soulful and palatable than a bowl full of a bunch of blended peas. Split peas, root vegetables, broth and meat (mainly bacon, sausage or cuts of pork meat) are mixed together to produce this traditional dish. Through the years it’s been integrated in the Polish military cuisine due to its significant nutritious value, but also due to the cheap and commonly found ingredients.

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