Polish White Borscht Soup (Bialy Barszcz) Recipe

A bowl of Polish white borscht
Polish white borscht. Dobromila/Wikimedia Commons/ CC-BY-SA-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings White Borscht
Ratings (19)

White borscht soup -- Polish biały barszcz or żurek wielkanocny -- is typically eaten on Easter Sunday morning and is made with most of the foods from the swięconka basket blessed on Holy Saturday.

The soup ingredients vary by family and region. I make it with sour cream and smoked and fresh white Polish sausage. Others use buttermilk and ham, and my sister-in-law skips the sausage and adds bacon, sauteed onions, vinegar, and sugar. What remains constant is the sausage water base and some type of sour known as żur or kwas as in this traditional żurek recipe from Poland.

What You'll Need

  • 6 cups sausage cooking water, fat removed
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 link white Polish kiełbasa sausage, casing removed, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1 link smoked Polish kiełbasa sausage, casing removed, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks and boiled
  • 6 hard-cooked sliced eggs
  • 6 slices light or dark rye bread
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add sausage water and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Fork-blend the flour and sour cream. Temper the sour cream with a little hot sausage water, then return to pot, stirring until thickened. Add sausages, potatoes, and eggs to pot and heat until warmed through. Season to taste. At this point, some people add a pinch of sugar or a tablespoon of vinegar. The soup should have a pleasantly sour taste.
  1. Into 6 heated bowls, tear rye bread into bite-sized pieces. Ladle hot soup over bread.