Polish White Barszcz and Vegetable Soup {Zalewajka}

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Polish White Barszcz and Vegetable Soup {Zalewajka}

Zalewajka [zah-leh-vahy-kah] is a traditional Polish soup made from whole wheat soup starter*, smoked sausage, aromatic thick cut smoked bacon and root vegetables. The sour soup starter thickens the soup as it heats, making it a hearty and filling meal.

I first tasted this soup while visiting the city of Łódź last summer. I’m surprised I’ve never had it before, considering that my family on my mom’s side comes from central Poland, where this soup originated. I re-created it at home and have been making it at home since. I love the slightly sour flavor mixed with the smokiness of bacon and sausage. It is really delicious.

Take your time and make the soup starter, you won’t be disappointed.

Polish White Barszcz and Vegetable Soup {Zalewajka}

Polish White Barszcz and Vegetable Soup {Zalewajka}

  • Yields: 5-6 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 7 oz / 200g of smoked sausage (more is OK too)
  • 4 slices of thick cut, good quality smoked bacon
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 8 cups / 2 liters of water
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1/4 of a celery root
  • 6-7 medium potatoes
  • 10 peppercorns and allspice - each
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 can (15.5 oz / 440 g) white kidney beans
  • 2 cups / 500 ml of sour wheat soup starter*
  • 1/2 tsp of ground pepper
  • 2 tsp of dried marjoram
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced

Instructions

  1. Dice sausage, bacon and onion and place in a heated a medium/large soup pot. Sauté on medium until fat has melted and onions cartelized (about 5 minutes).

  2. In the meantime, peel and dice carrots, parsnip, celery root and potatoes.

  3. Add water to meat/onion mixture and add diced vegetables, salt, peppercorns, allspice and bay leaves. Boil on medium until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.

  4. Add beans (rinsed) and bring to boil. Add sour starter, ground pepper, marjoram and garlic, bring to boil and heat for another 2 minutes. Soup will thicken.

Notes

Serve with bread.

Happy cooking!

Anna

*to make whole wheat soup starter, use this recipe for rye soup starter, just use whole wheat flour instead.


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3 Comments

  1. Pani Anna, you have inspired me. I am going to make the rye starter today for the soup. Wish me luck. I hope to make the soup on Sunday its going to be cold here. I always make zurek bialy from a packet but this is the first time I will make it from scratch. I think Mama made the starter from a piece of rye bread flour and water.

    I may also make some bread too.

    Thank you for your inspiration.

    1. If you use rye starter you’re going to make Żurek. Wheat starter is for Barszcz. And for Zalewajka you have to use kvass (kwas chlebowy).
      That 3 different soups!

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