Polish Pickle Soup {Zupa Ogórkowa}

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Polish Pickle Soup {Zupa Ogórkowa}

A kitchen table covered with picking jars, lined up evenly like soldiers at morning formation. They are partially filled with pickles. Smell of garlic, dill and freshly picked cucumbers is in the air. Grandma is hustling around the kitchen, preparing the winter stash. This batch will last us through the winter and until the next pickling season. 

Pickling was a normal occurrence in my household. We didn’t pay much attention to the making of them as kids, but we were first to grab jars off the shelfs in the basement cellar, pop the lid and get busy with its contents. When the last jar is taken off the shelf, a new batch is waiting to fill the empty space.

My grandparents mainly pickled cucumbers, but also pumpkins, beets and lots and lots of fruit. Even though you can now buy any of this stuff at the market, it is so deeply ingrained in our soul, and so it just occurs… every year. Like autumn after summer, Poles are pickling summer garden gatherings during and after the season’s end. 

Pickles will be eaten in soups, salads, on sandwiches, in stews and as a snack. I’m making pickle soup today. I’m using pickles made with water and salt solution, with garlic and other spices (my recipe here), no vinegar. The cucumbers undergo the fermentation process in the jars and take on sour, salty and “garlicky” character. They stay crunchy, if done right, the brine looks murky and cloudy and is a great probiotic. 

Polish Pickle Soup {Zupa Ogórkowa}

Polish Pickle Soup {Zupa Ogórkowa}

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • About 1 ½ lbs / 700 g of chicken (wings or other bone-in parts)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 carrots
  • 4-6 whole pepper corns and allspice berries (each)
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • One 30 oz / 900 ml jar of pickles in brine*
  • 3 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 1 c / 230 ml of cold water
  • About 3 tbsp of fresh dill

Instructions

  1. Wash chicken parts and place in a medium pot with about 6-7 cups (1 ½ quarts) of water. Add salt, bay leaves, carrots, peppercorns and allspice berries. Boil on medium to medium-low heat for about 30-40 minutes (until chicken falls off the bone).

  2. In the meantime, peel potatoes and cut into medium cubes. Keep in cold water.

  3. Grate pickles on the medium side of a box grater, set aside. Cut up fresh dill.

  4. When chicken is done, remove from stock and take off the bone. Also remove carrots and slice.

  5. Add cubed potatoes to the stock and boil for about 10 minutes, or until soft.

  6. When potatoes are soft, return meat and carrots to the pot. Add shredded pickles (I also like to add all of the brine to make my soup more sour).

  7. In a small bowl or cup, combine cold water with flour, whisk well and add to the soup to thicken. Bring to boil and turn off.

  8. Finally, add chopped fresh dill.

Notes

* Pickles in brine are the fermented pickles in salt brine and can be found at almost any Polish grocery store in the US (or see my recipe linked in the text above). If you can't find those, use your favorite dill pickle or dill deli pickles.

Soup is done! Just add dill fresh dill and stir. Taste one last time. It should taste sour and savory. If you think it needs a little help, add a little bit of the pickle brine. Taste again. Feel free to add a pinch of salt, but be cautious, pickles have plenty of salt in them already, careful not to over-salt.  

Serve with bread. 

Smacznego!!

Have you made/tasted this before? What did you think? Leave a comment below.

Polish Pickle Soup {Zupa Ogórkowa}


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32 Comments

      1. Nie, ja nie dodaję śmietany. Lubię taką, mocno kwaśną. 😊 Trzy łyżki, mierzone amerykańską miarką „tbs”, to nie jest aż tak dużo, moim zdaniem. Można zmienić, by smakowało. Na tym polega kuchnia domowa. 😊

      1. Thanks so much! Turned out yummy. I did add some of the pickle juice to make it sourer, just like Babcia does!

    1. I had a friend visit Europe before COVID 19 happened and she bought me some AllSpice berries. They look similar to peppercorns. Try and google it. you can buy AllSpice whole as the berry. Several different companies make them! 🙂

  1. This is so awesome! Thank you so much!!! I am drooling right now, wishing I could make it immediately! But at 11 pm, I have to wait until the Russian deli opens and hope for the best on those Polish pickles… 🙂
    So grateful for you and your website and recipes!!! 🙂

  2. First time eating this – quite unusual. I cheated and used homemade veggie broth powder instead of making chicken soup broth from scratch, and store bought pickles (no vinegar added) – I hope my Busi isn’t rolling in her grave!

  3. We typically buy our pickle soup at our local Polish restaurant and it’s divine. So I was super excited that I might be able to recreate it at home. Not an epic fail but also not quite there. I asked our friends who run the restaurant what I did wrong and she told me that I should’ve put the pickles in a fine mesh colander and allowed them to drain for a while (the soup was too salty). Although I picked Polish gherkins, the pickles just weren’t dilled enough for us, so I think it’s super important to pick THE very best pickles you absolutely can.

  4. I made this soup and my family loved it! Could not gone celery root but added chopped celery instead, also added parsnip with the carrot. It was very delicious!

  5. We were in Kazakhstan for 12weeks and frequently had this soup at the guesthouse. Found your recipe about two weeks ago along with your bleach recipe. They are a regularly requested. I keep trying to make some for leftovers. No such luck…gone as soon as it comes off the heat. Thank you for your Recipes.

  6. New to Polish cuisine.. I’m just a little confused. When you say pickles in brine are you referring to what is labeled as « cucumbers in brine »? Any kind of reference to what I should be looking for would be appreciated. I live around the corner from two well stocked Polish delis. I’m excited to cook my way through your website. I can’t wait to taste this soup and pretty much every other recipe you’ve shared.

    1. Brad, exactly. Pickles (cucumbers) in brine are pickled in salty brine (no vinegar). You can always check the ingredients list to make sure. Good luck!

  7. I made this earlier today and it turned out great!! I found it from your YouTube channel and can’t wait to try more of your recipes. I invited my family over tomorrow to have it for dinner! Is there anything you recommend serving to go along with it other than bread?

  8. My mom turned me on to your YouTube channel and I naturally found your website. WOW! This soup was amazing! Definitely will be making it again. In in the states so I used Claussen pickles because that is what is closest to me but you can bet I will be making a trip to the Russian store to get Polish pickles next time. My family is from Western Ukraine and so many of these dishes remind me of my Babcia. I will for sure be trying out so many of these recipes to keep these traditions alive in my family!
    Dyakuyu!
    Daria

  9. I like Bubbies brand (non vinegar) fermented pickles which I bought at Whole Foods (also at other places) and I like them as well or better than as ones I made myself. They are expensive but I just add a pickling cucumber to the bottle when I take one out and the new one is ready in a week so one bottle will last forever if kept in fridge. I suppose one could do this with any store bought pickles.

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