Żurek — pronounced “zhurek” — is the most humble of all Polish soups, and it has traditionally been eaten at Easter, but now is found on menus all year-round.
If you do have to make it yourself, although it sounds odd and intimidating, it is in fact extremely easy. But it does require planning a few days in advance.
- 2 cups / 500 ml of rye sour starter
- 4 cups / 1 liter of water
- 4 oz / 100 g of good quality smoked bacon
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 of a parsnip
- 1/4 of burnt onion*
- 6-8 allspice whole
- 6-8 peppercorns whole
- 1/2 tbs of salt
- 1 tbs of dried marjoram
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbs of flour
- 4 tbs of butter
Place bacon, carrots, parsnip and onion in a pot, cover with water and add salt. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
Remove everything from soup and add sour starter, marjoram and crushed garlic. Bring to boil and simmer on low for a few minutes.
If soup is not too thick make roux: heat a small pan to medium heat, add butter and flour and brown lightly. Add to soup and stir well. Bring to boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Taste, add a bit more salt to taste.
To serve, slice fresh/white sausage (biała kiełbasa) or smoked sausage used for making this soup. Add a boiled egg and a 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish.
*burn onion right on the gas burner or if using electric stove, place in a hot pan and keep heating until it develops burnt edges.