This recipe for Polish pickle soup or zupa ogórkowa (ZOO-pah aw-goorr-KAW-vah) is from the women of Gwizdały village. This village is one of the stops when touring the Mazowsze region of Poland with Poland Culinary Vacations.
Gwizdały literally means "whistled" and, indeed, the small town boasts a whistle museum with specimens from all over the world. Here is another version of Polish pickle soup -- Creamy Dill Pickle Soup Recipe.
The soup is made with pickled baby cucumbers, what we call just plain pickles, in a chicken-broth base with carrots, potatoes, parsnips and sour cream and is the winter counterpart to summer's cold cucumber soup.
In Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe, before refrigeration, pickling was a common way of preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs so pickled food shows up in a seemingly endless number of recipes.
Some versions of pickle soup use a tomato or ketchup base but this more widely known variation is creamed. If you substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock, it is completely vegetarian.
- In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots, parsnip and celery. Return to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
- Add pickles and any accumulated juices and combine well.
- Temper the sour cream in a small heatproof bowl by adding a few ladles of hot soup and whisking constantly.
- Transfer the tempered sour cream back to the soup and heat through until starting to simmer but do not boil or the sour cream will break.
- Serve hot in heated bowls with chopped fresh dill and slices of rye bread with caraway seeds.