Polish Cucumber Soup

I couldn’t wait to make this soup. Given to me by a friend (his mum’s recipe), it is apparently a traditional Polish dish. The idea of a warm soup may sound a bit crazy now that summer has (finally) arrived but don’t let that put you off – I’ve heard you can also serve it chilled. I was so excited when I got this as my friends’ mum had been kind enough to specify details such as which brand of preserved cucumbers are the best (Krakus, below) – it is particulars like this which make a recipe work.

 

One of the most intriguing things about this soup is the method. Vegetables (carrot, parsnip, potato) are simmered in stock and water with a leg of chicken or a fatty cut of beef. At the end of cooking time, the meat is removed and my friend has noted, ‘do with it what you want!’ The cucumbers, which (importantly) are brined and not pickled, are then grated and fried in butter before being added to the pot. Cream, seasoning and dill are then stirred through, together with a little of the cucumber brine if you want a slightly more sour taste. It is this brine that makes the cukes Polish-style. The process of natural fermentation in brine is how they develop their sour taste – no vinegar involved.

As you can see we put the shredded chicken back into the soup afterwards – not part of the original recipe – we are just die-hard carnivores and couldn’t resist it. I also added quite a lot of the brine back to the pot as I really loved the sour taste. The soup was quite unlike any I’ve ever tasted before, a delicious unique flavour and so simple to make. As I understand it, there are many variations, it’s all down to personal taste.

Polish Cucumber Soup

3 pints water (I used 2 pints water + 1 pint of stock instead of the stock cube below. This is purely because I have an irrational fear of stock cubes!)
1 stock cube (if using)
284ml single cream
1 bunch dill
1 parsnip, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 baking potato (I used 2 normal sized potatoes as I didn’t have a baker), diced
1 jar of cucumbers in brine (my friend’s mum recommends Krakus, which is the brand I used but apparently, others will do fine), drained weight 540g.
1 chicken leg (or beef but this needs to be a fatty cut)
2 tablespoons butter

-Add water, stock and chicken (or beef) to pan.
- Add the chopped veggies and simmer until meat and veggies are soft (around 30 minutes). At the end of this time, remove the meat (I shredded it to add back at the end).
- While the soup simmers, grate all the ‘cumbers’ and reserve the brine.
- Fry the cumbers in the butter on a very low heat for around 5 minutes and add to the soup.
- Finally, add single cream, dill, salt and pepper. If you want the soup to be more sour, add some cumber brine. If you want a thinner soup, add a little water. Add the chicken back in if you like.

Category: Gluten-free, Meat, Soups, Vegetables 29 comments »

29 Responses to “Polish Cucumber Soup”

  1. nina

    I have seen many kinds of soup in my time, but I have to say, this one is a newie. I love the color though.

  2. Kalyn

    This sounds very similar to a soup recipe just posted by Neil of At My Table (he’s not your friend is he?) His wife is Polish. I was intrigued by it then, and I’m still quite intrigued.

  3. Kalyn

    Here is Neil’s version of the soup if you’d like to check it out.

  4. Helen

    Nina – It was new to me too, you should give it a try and let me know what you think, I really enjoyed it.
    Kalyn – Thanks for introducing me to Neil’s blog, I haven’t come across it before. He’s not the source I was referring to though! I’ve just checked out the blog and it’s great – good to see a different version too, I’m going to experiment further with the recipe.

  5. Coffee and Vanilla

    Thank you sooo much Helen for this award, I feel really honored!
    I’m also very happy to discover your blog, your cucumber soup sounds like the one my mom used to make.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Margot

  6. Scott at Realepicurean

    I absolutely love Polish food and don’t think I’ve ever tried this. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. renato gerena

    man that looks good !! great job !!
    http://thecheftablelife.blogspot.com/

  8. Peter G

    Thanks Helen…I appreciate the award. Even though I have no speech planned…Seriously, I’m really liking this soup. Its very different to anything else I’ve seen. I love cucumbers (brined or pickled) and the whole frying them and adding them back t the soup has me intrigued. A future “must try”. Cheers.

  9. evil chef mom

    Thank You Helen, this is…well, I feel honored, is all I can say.

    I can’t wait to make this. I have never heard of cucumber soup, so I have to have it. I have never seen the Krakus brand around here. Do you have a alternative I can use.

  10. Helen

    Coffee and Vanilla – It’s a pleasure!
    Scott – I hope you try the soup, let me know what you think if you do.
    Peter G – It’s a please Peter, sorry I caught you out with the speech, I’ll warn you next time ;-) Those cucumbers are really delicious, especially after being fried in butter!
    Evil Chef Mom – Again, it’s a pleasure! You can use any cucumbers but you need to make sure they are preserved in brine and not in vinegar. This is the Polish way you see. Happy souping!

  11. Nicisme

    You always have such interesting dishes here Helen. I love coming to see what new-to-me foods you have, and today it’s the cucumbers! Thanks for sharing this lovely soup.

  12. aforkfulofspaghetti

    That looks just the ticket for the weather we’re having right now!

  13. Wendy

    This sounds wonderful! I’ve never heard of it but will be making it very soon. :)

  14. Fearless Kitchen

    This is really different and very interesting. It’s a little striking that the meat is removed from the soup – I’d probably have added it back too.

  15. Vanilla

    For me, the best part of pickled cucumbers is the brine- I just LOVE it and your soup sounds soo de-lish! I have used the brine in salad dressings and stir fried Lebanese cucumbers. I can’t wait to give a try to your recipe!!!

  16. cookinpanda

    Helen, this is so exciting! A friend of mine lives in a predominantly polish neighborhood and we’ve dined at a few local restaurants that are fabulous, but I have little to no experience with polish food. This friend recently brought me a few jars of preserved things like cucumbers (!) and beets. I had no idea what to do with them, but this looks like a great starting point.

  17. neil

    Having had this soup a few times, I can attest just how delicious it is. Nice to know I’m not the only one who likes it, great version!

  18. Trig

    After reading several blogs on rhubarb drowned in sugar and honey, that looks just what the doctor ordered!

  19. Cynthia

    What an excellent idea and way to use preserved cucumbers. Soups looks wonderfully creamy.

  20. farida

    What an interesting recipe! It reminds me a bit of a dish called solyanka, a Russian dish, where pickled cucumber is added to the meat and simmered together. but then again, it is not a soup and the cucumbers are pickled, not brined:) I’ll save your recipe to try whenever I get a chance and brined cucumbers! Cheers:)

  21. Helen

    Nicisme – Thank you! I’m always on the lookout for ingredients I haven’t cooked with before.
    Spaghetti – The weather is wonderful at last!
    Wendy – It was new to me too and delicious.
    Fearless Kitchen – I couldn’t resist putting that meat back in, too much of a carnivore.
    Vanilla – That’s a great idea. Stir fried Lebanese cucumbers sound fantastic, I’ll look into that.
    Cookinpanda – What a nice friend you have, get those cukes cooking!
    Neil – Thanks, but the credit must go to my friends mum for the recipe.
    Trig – It can get a bit like that sometimes can’t it? We want everyone to be seasonal and then we are all cooking with the same things.
    Cynthia – I actually didn’t use all of the cream in the end, so it kept a bit of lightness too.
    Farida – I’ve never heard of solyanka – thanks for the tip off though. I love pickled cucumbers too so I’ll check it out.

  22. Daz

    Mmmmm! Your soup looks very refreshing and tasty!

  23. manju

    My husband’s family emigrated from Eastern Europe 3 generations ago, and he keeps telling me about a sour and salty potato soup his great-grandmother would make. This might be it, but I don’t know if we can find brined cucumbers. Thanks for the great recipe — now we’ll be on the look out for the cukes!

  24. radish

    this is one of my favorite soups ever – my mom used to make it for me when i was little – and those pickles really are the best!

  25. James

    Definitely one I’ll try. Other cultures have such wonderful and tasty cuisine.

    Jamess last blog post..Trio of Donnington smoked trout

  26. LisaInTheKitchen

    I’m gonna try this too. However, what drew me here was the use of cucumbers in soup……but I was looking for ways to use up my aging fresh cucumbers as I hate wasting food and in the midst of winter, a cold salad is so unappealing….please sir, can I have some more recipes?

  27. Steffanie

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. The Pickled Cucumber Soup is what brought me here. Thanks!

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  29. Margot

    On of my favourite soups! Thank you for reminding me of it :)


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