This recipe for Polish creamy dill pickle soup or zupa ogórkowa (ZOO-pah oh-goorr-KOH-vah) is the winter counterpart to the summer offering of 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. Here, pickled baby cucumbers, what we call just plain pickles, in hot broth is the base for this delicious soup.
Some versions use a tomato or ketchup base but this more widely known variation uses sour cream and, if you substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock, it is completely vegetarian.
Today, thanks to refrigeration and the availability of year-round produce, this soup can be enjoyed winter or summer.
This alternative authentic recipe for dill pickle soup from Gwizdały Village in the Mazovia region of Poland is made with a chicken-broth base, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, and sour cream.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion (halved and sliced)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 large garlic dill pickles (about 3 cups chopped)
- 2/3 cup pickle juice (or water)
- 4 large potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sour cream
- Salt and black pepper
- Optional: sugar to taste
- Optional: chopped fresh dill for garnish
- Melt butter in a large pot. Sauté onion until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add broth, pickles, pickle juice, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Blend flour with sour cream. Temper sour cream mixture by whisking in a little hot soup.
- Pour tempered sour cream into hot soup, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and optional sugar.
- At this point, the soup can be left chunky or puréed to the velvety consistency of vichyssoise.
- Serve in heated bowls garnished with optional chopped fresh dill and accompanied by hearty rye bread.