Here comes a list of modern and traditional Polish soups. Under descriptions you can find some authentic recipes. Going to visit Poland and would like to taste some delicious foods not choosing on spec? You are welcome. All Polish foods listed below constitute a typical Polish menu up to this days. Therefore, while visiting Poland, one will certainly come across many of them. I wish you good luck in exploring Polish tastes and… Smacznego!
List of Polish soups
Zurek or zur is a very traditional Polish soup. A distinctive feature of this exclusive food is its sour taste. However, this is not like the sour taste of a lemon. Zurek soup is much more delicate and not tongue-annoying. The taste of this Polish soup comes from so-called sour leavening, originating from fermentation of rye flour and bread crusts.
In many Polish homes zurek soup is a traditional food eaten during Easter holidays. The dish is very nutritious and quite lavish. Oftentimes, Polish zurek soup is dished up in a special hollowed out loaf of bread (see photo below). Compulsory additions to zurek soup are hard-boiled eggs and a peculiar Polish raw sausage. The sausage is called white sausage by the Poles (biala kielbasa in original) and is boiled in water before adding to zurek soup. Since Central European region of Poland and Germany is the homeland of many kinds of sausages, white sausage is quite unknown outside borders of these countries. To sum up, both egg and Polish kielbasa are thrown into a plate with zurek soup. Smoked bacon or ribs are another popular addition. This great Polish soup is often eaten with some bread or roll. It is worthwhile adding that white borscht is a closely related soup. You can find some information about it one paragraph below.
The sour rye soup is a soup made of soured rye flour and meat (usually boiled pork sausage or pieces of smoked sausage, bacon or ham). It is specific to Poland, where it is known as zur or zurek, and a variant is known as barszcz bialy (white borscht). Wikipedia
White borscht is a Polish soup closely related to zurek. Although the taste is quite similar, it is pretty easy to distinguish white borscht from zurek. The first soup is brighter and almost always served with mashed potatoes sprinkled generously with bacon crackling, some fried onion, dill or parsley leaves and laid on a separate plate. Taste of this traditional Polish soup is delicate and very original. Just like zurek, white borscht is a bit sour. In this case, however, the sour taste comes from juice of a sauerkraut. This Polish soup is always thickened with wheat flour (in the case of a traditional zurek soup, rye flour is an thickening ingredient).
Polish white borscht with eggs, white sausage and potatoes,
traditionally served during Easter breakfast.
Barszcz czerwony is known in English as beetroot clear borscht, while Polish expression barszcz czerwony simply means red borscht. This traditional Polish soup is made of red beetroot juice. Most typical and very traditional red borscht is dished up with uszka (read like ushka), kind of stuffed dumplings very similar to Italian ravioli. A soup of this kind should be clear and look like a red wine. Red clear borscht with uszka is one of the best traditional Polish soups and an exclusive one. It is also an indispensable Polish food prepared for the Christmas Eve supper. Red borscht has a rich bunch of tastes. However, the taste of red beet dominates with its characteristic delicate flavor of natural sweetness.
Another kind of red borscht soup is served with krokiety (croquettes) instead of uszka. The soup should be slightly sour in taste and usually not so clear as Christmas borscht. Traditional Polish recipes suggest adding some lemon juice or vinegar. Personally, I prefer eating slightly sweet clear Christmas borscht to eating sour one with krokiety.
The third variant of this delicious Polish soup, definitely worth my recommendation, is a red borsch with cream. This is one of those Polish soups I especially enjoy. Red borscht with cream is made just like clear red borscht but with some sour cream. Cream is used to thicken food, like in many other Polish soups recipes. Moreover, this nourishing meal is dished up with mashed potatoes, sprinkled with some fried onion or pork scratching. Yummy!
Other versions are richer as they include meat and cut vegetables of various kinds where beetroots aren't the main one (though this soup isn't always called barszcz, but rather beetroot soup). This variation of barszcz isn't strained and vegetable contents are left in it. Such soup can make the main course of obiad (main meal eaten in the early afternoon). Wikipedia
Chlodnik is a soup known both in Polish and Lithuanian cuisine. Actually, this Polish-Lithuanian soup is yet another kind of red borscht. Red beet juice is a basic ingredient of chlodnik, and that is why the soup has a beautiful pink color. Just like a well prepared red borscht, chlodnik is a delicious Polish food. This soup has a delicate sour-sweet taste. Sweetness originates from natural sugar content in beetroots, whereas addition of some sour milk, kefir or yoghurt brings a sour flavor about.
Besides the beetroot, sour cucumbers and young beet leaves are common ingredients of a chlodnik soup. The fact that this Polish soup is dished up cold is an unique feature. Actually, a name of a soup derives from a word chlod (in fact 'chłód') that means coolness. As such, chlodnik is usually prepared and served during hot summers.
Photo from Wikipedia.
Its preparation starts with young beets (…). After cooling down, the soup is usually mixed with sour cream, soured milk, kefir or yoghurt (…). Typically, raw chopped vegetables such as radishes or cucumbers are added and the soup is garnished and flavored with dill or parsley. The soup has a rich pink color. Wikipedia
flaki [ˈflaci], flaczki [ˈflaʧ̑ci] (diminutive)
Flaki is a very popular traditional Polish soup. Flaki soup is quite dense and made from a shredded beef stomach. That is why word flaki simply means in Polish something like 'guts'. No matter how oddly it sounds, believe me that Polish flaki soup is really tasty. Even some Poles, however, do not take these shreds into enough confidence and they confine themselves to eating a mere stock. And this one, being an aromatic extract of this nice traditional Polish soup, is absolutely delicious. As for it almost nobody has doubts. Like some other Polish soups, flaki is spicy and should be eaten with fresh bread or with a roll. I need to add that beef tripe soups are not only Polish food or Polish cuisine specialty. These are well known in other European cuisines too read more
Top photo from Wikipedia. Middle left: my flaki po zamojsku = flaki in a Zamosc style. Middle right & bottom: my 'flaki soup' made from a chicken breast instead of tripe. Simply, it is much easier and faster to prepare. The soup is seasoned just like the original flaki and its taste is very similar.
The dish dates back as early as the 14th century, when it was one of the favorite dishes of King Władysław II Jagiełło. The method of preparation may vary slightly depending on the region. Common ingredients include beef tripe, beef, bay leaf, parsley, carrot, beef broth, and spices to taste, including salt, pepper, nutmeg, paprika, and marjoram. Wikipedia
One of the most important traditional Polish soups is rosol. Rosol, a kind of Polish broth, is a not-thickened clear soup made with chicken meat and bones. Usually, the Poles serve this food with a pasta of tagliatelle type. Sometimes rosol is dished up with a home-made traditional Polish pasta called kluski or makaron. For many years rosol was being considered a sort of noble soup. Hence, on account of a respect for the Lord's Day, Polish chicken broth was served at Sunday dinner in many Polish families read more
zupa [ˈzupa], grzybowa [ɡʒɨˈbɔva]
Polish soups made from mushrooms are treated with a great respect by the Poles. One of splendid Polish mushroom soups is known as mushroom borscht (barszcz grzybowy in Polish) and, according to tradition, served for the Christmas Eve supper. All Polish mushroom soups are cooked on meat and vegetable stock. Still, mushrooms dominate both a list of ingredients and a bunch of tastes and aromas of the resulting Polish food.
To describe the taste of a mushroom soup is quite a difficult task. It has… a mushroom taste and, generally speaking, if any one likes mushrooms, he or she will be enraptured by Polish mushroom soups. All the more so because as usually Polish cuisine offers you many choices: there is a soup made from boletus, red pine mushroom, whether of excellent chanterelle mushroom (those little, yellow ones you probably know). Polish soup made from white mushroom, that is easy to find in almost every grocery store, is a more ordinary version called white mushroom soup or zupa pieczarkowa in Polish language. Also, you may be interested in Polish mushroom sauces. These are described in Appetizers and ingredients.
Mushroom soup (grzybowa).
Cucumber soup is a traditional Polish soup. Neither refined nor festive this Polish soup is quite ordinary and everyday. The soup is cooked on meat stock, while grated sour pickled cucumbers (typically Polish) and diced boiled potatoes constitute a base of the taste. Personally, I am not very fond of this Polish food. However, drawing on my knowledge of what many people from Poland consider, I should add that my statement seems to be rather an exception in case of the Polish soup made of cucumbers ;)
zupa [ˈzupa], szczawiowa [ʃʧ̑aˈvʲjɔva]
I strongly recommend you this great Polish soup: a sorrel soup. I really love it. It is made from a sorrel - small green leaves rising wild here and there on meadows and suburbs. It is interesting that if you want to cook the sorrel soup you will have to go for a walk to the lap of nature at first and pick some of these plants. Indeed, I must admit that it is possible to buy the sorrel in some Polish groceries in spring & summer time, but choosing an easy way you rob yourself of fun ;) The sorrel looks somehow similar to spinach but its taste is totally different. A great point in it is that sorrel leaves are sour in a pleasant and delicate way. It is possible to eat those leaves in a raw state during your stroll.
This Polish soup is a delicious one, let me I write at length. It is cooked on meat stock. Then some boiled potatoes (not necessary) and hard-boiled eggs (necessary) are added. Some Polish people cook the sorrel soup on smoked meat, claiming that it savors even better. I don't doubt it, however, I still have had no chance to try such a recipe on my own. And one more thing: this Polish soup is called a borscht, not a soup, by many Poles.
Top photo from Wikipedia, bottom by Tasting Poland.
kapuśniak [kaˈpuɕɲak], kwaśnica [kfaˈɕɲiʦ̑]
A cabbage soup is a tasty food known in Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian cuisine. The soup is prepared of a blend of a raw cabbage and a sauerkraut. In the Tatra Mountains region the cabbage soup is made exclusively from the sauerkraut, and as such is called kwasnica. This regional Polish soup is much more tart than a typical cabbage soup kapusniak, which name derives from a word kapusta meaning a cabbage. Kapusniak is usually prepared on bacon or ribs stock, oftentimes with an addition of some diced sausage. Both Polish soups are sour but less than the mere sauerkraut. Sometimes Polish cabbage soup is seasoned with a tomato concentrate what makes it slightly orange or red colored.
zupa [ˈzupa], koperkowa [kɔpɛrˈkɔva]
Polish 'worship' of a dill and parsley leaves, profusely used to decorate and season many of Polish foods, finds its climax in a dill soup. This traditional Polish soup has - I want to underline that - a very delicate taste (it can be nauseous when prepared too guardedly). Polish dill soup is an essence of a taste of the fresh dill, with an addition of some good quality cream. This Polish soup is a seasonal one, typical of spring-summer time, since this is a period of a year, when Polish lady of the house gracefully gathers the dill from her gardens :) (of course I mean these Ladies who are lucky enough to have such a garden, what to my unrestrained disappointment is turned over more and more rarer this times!).
So, the fresh dill gives the soup lots of the unique taste and some wonderful aroma. Personally, I really love it. Many variations on a theme of the dill soup exist. As most of Polish soups this one also is cooked on meat stock. The dill and cream are both a base of the taste. However, depending on home and the family tradition, we come across some different additions: the dill soup served with batter dumplings, potatoes, zacierki (kind of very small Polish dumplings), grzanki (pieces of bread or roll baked like a toast), or even an ordinary pasta. Sometimes diced chanterelle mushrooms, typical of some of Polish foods, are an addition ennobling the taste.
A barley soup is a traditional Polish soup cooked on vegetable or meat stock with barley groats as a base of the taste. A sparseness of dried mushrooms or meat chunks is sometimes added.
Photo from Wikipedia.
zupa [ˈzupa], owocowa [ɔvɔˈʦ̑ɔva]
Quite a lot of simple recipes for fruit soups exist in the Polish cuisine. Most oftentimes fruit soups are sweet Polish soups made in Summer time from fresh morello cherries, bilberries or strawberries. Some Polish people thicken fruit soups with cream or milk mixed with some flour, but it is not a rule. Those Polish soups, also known however in some other cuisines of Slavic countries, are served cold and with an addition of some pasta. In winter time fruit soup can be prepared of compote (kind of Polish drink) instead of fresh fruit.
Cold and warm fruit soups are common in Scandinavian, Baltic and Eastern European cuisines, while hot fruit soups with meat appear in Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Chinese cuisines. Fruit soups are uncommon or absent in the cuisines of the Americas, Africa and Western Europe. They are also not seen in Japan, Southeast Asia or Oceania. Wikipedia
zupa [ˈzupa], pomidorowa [pɔ̃mʲidɔˈrɔva], pomidorówka [ˌpɔ̃mʲidɔˈrufka]
A tomato soup, known in Poland as zupa pomidorowa or even more simply pomidorowka, is a soup of an Italian origin, popular in Poland for many years. Together with a cucumber soup, barley soup, whether Polish broth - rosol, pomidorowka constitutes one of a basic Polish food amongst simple, everyday soups.
In Poland pomidorowka is cooked on meat stock (poultry or beef). Fresh tomatoes are a base of the taste, while during Winter tomatoes preserved in jars play this role. An addition of a tomato concentrate and cream emphasizes the taste. Polish tomato soup is served with pasta, frequently with rice or potatoes.
Bowl of pomidorowa.
zupa [ˈzupa] grochowa [ɡrɔˈxɔva], grochówka [ɡrɔˈxufka]
A pea soup is a universal multinational soup, known in many countries. In Poland a pea soup is prepared of pea and cooked with bacon on beef stock. A garlic and a marjoram are important spices. Depending on a recipe Polish soup grochowka can be from semi-transparent and thin to a very dense mousse soup. Pea soup is dished up with pasta, cubes of baked bread called grzanki or with groszek ptysiowy - small balls made of very light dough (similar to what is known in English as choux pastry balls).
What is interesting is that in Poland grochowka has got a label of some kind of military soup, because it has been served in army in the times of communism. Up to this day, allegedly traditionally, pea soup is dished up during any army or charity events. As a very nourishing and hearty, pea soup is then prepared and eaten on a large scale.
zupa [ˈzupa], gulaszowa [gulaˈʃɔva]
This delicious soup comes from the Hungarian tradition and for decades is popular in the Polish cuisine. Both in the Polish cuisine as in Hungary, basic ingredients of this soup are: a pepper, meat and onion.
barszcz [barʃʧ̑], ukraiński [ˌukraˈjĩj̃sʲci]
An Ukrainian borscht - as the name indicates - is a traditional Ukrainian soup made from red beetroot. Typically Polish red borsches are dished up as clear, with croquettes or uszka, sometimes thickened with cream. As a rule Polish cuisine flinches from any vegetables in the borscht. And that is an essential difference between Polish red borscht (see above) and Ukrainian borscht, which is always rich in vegetables. An eastern tradition teaches us that the Ukrainian borscht is a vegetarian soup. Nevertheless, when dished up in Poland (as a Polish 'version') the soup is always based on meat stock. Oftentimes, the Poles make it with an addition of pea or beans what, as far as I know, is not practiced in Ukraine. And that is the second difference between the original soup and its Polish variant.
To this day there are arguments over who invented a borscht. Ukrainians are certain, that it is their traditional food. But completely the same Poles, Lithuanians, or even Romanians think. Well, we do not know the true origins of the borscht, but who cares? All types of borscht are delicious and that's what counts read more