Monday, January 21, 2013

Polish 'sour cucumber soup' // Polska zupa ogórkowa

Sour cucumber soup

Of all soups I've ever tasted this one is my favorite. It's especially made in winter when there are few fresh vegetables and extra vitamins are needed.
Ze wszystkich zup, które kiedykolwiek próbowałam, ta jest moją ulubioną. Robimy ją zwykle w zimę gdy jet mało świeżych warzyw, a witaminki dostarczać trzeba.

It's an easy-to-make soup but it requires brined cucumbers which are present in almost every Polish home. Brined cucumbers or pickles (in Polish called ogórki kiszone) are always made in summer when fresh cucumbers are readily available.


Jest to zupa łatwa w przygotowaniu, ale do jej wykonania potrzeba ogórków kiszonych, które można znaleźć w prawie każdym polskim domu.
Ogórki kiszone zwykle robimy w lato gdy w sprzedaży są świeże ogórki gruntowe.

To make brined cucumbers you simply take a jar (a wooden barrel or a crock), put as many fresh cucumbers as you can squeeze in and fill the container with brine. The standard brine is: 1 spoon of salt per 1 liter of water. There are also many additional ingredients added to the brine which improve the taste of the them: vine, black currant or cherry leaves, garlic cloves, dill flowers, a horseradish root  <--- these are the classic additions; of course you can add there whatever you like, for example chillies or mustard.... there are many options.
Those of you who are interested in brined cucumbers, visit my blog in the middle of July - I'll be showing how to make Polish brined cucumbers.

For this soup I needed:

- 2,5 litres of boiling water with 1 spoon of colza oil (instead of oil you can add a chicken leg, piece of meat or simply add some chicken or beef stock)


- 1 jar of brined cucumbers including the brine

- 4 potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 1 root parsley or a parsnip
- 1 onion
- a quarter of celeriac
- a few leek leaves

I like to grate the carrots, root parsley and celeriac; but to cube onion and potatoes. As for the leeks I slice 1 leaf and leave the rest in one piece.

I also grate cucumbers because it's quicker than chopping and leave them in the brine; but it's really up to you how you cut your vegetables.

 I put the vegetables into the boiling water. I let them boil for 20 minutes when grated, but 25-30 minutes when cubed... just really when they become tender. When the vegetables are ready I add cucumbers with brine and boil for another 5 minutes. 

After that I season with 1 spoon of salt (because brined cucumbers are already salty a bit), 1 spoon of freshly ground black pepper, a handful of chopped parsley (but in the summer season I add lots of fresh dill) and at the end when the soup stands for a couple of minutes I add 1-2 spoons of yoghurt or a sour cream. I usually serve the soup with slices of rye bread. 

The sour cucumber soup should be both salty and sour, if it isn't sour enough just add some lemon juice and it will do the job.

I highly recommend this soup. It' easy-to-make, healthy and very tasty. 

Has any of you from outside Poland ever tried brined cucumbers or sour cucumber soup? I'm very curious!


  1. Ja do tej zupy dodaję śmietany i nie używam oleju wcale. Pozdrawiam.

    1. Ile osób tyle przepisów :) Dziękuję za komentarz i pozdrawiam!

  2. Replies
    1. No, it's not. I usually season my soups (2,5 liters) with 1 tablespoon salt - and for me, it's enough. But this soup is just a bit more salty - it's like 1 heap spoon or 1,5 tablespoon. I can say that the soup is more sour than salty.

  3. You have no idea how much I want a warming bowl of that hearty soup! I really want to give it a try!

    1. Try someday, it's really good :) and it has lots of vitamin C.

    2. I could do with some vitamin C - everyone seems to have colds!

  4. I might have to give that a go. I've never eaten cucumbers in brine, but I do soak sliced cucumber in vinegar for a couple of days, which is lovely. What is colza oil?

    1. Colza oil is an oil made of field mustard (brassica rapa). It's my favourite oil, because it's good for both salads and frying :)

  5. cucumber soup makes my mouth watery..:)

  6. superb..!! I like soups because it's healthy...not colestrol..

    1. Yes, I like them too. They are very nutritious and help to keep one's figure!

  7. This sounds delicious....what a unique approach to making a to me, and no, never heard of anything like this as a soup before. Wonderful. Will look forward to your pickle brining post in July.

  8. Hi Dewberry,

    I've never tried making such a soup before. Looks yummy. I've seen on TV here that sometimes they make vegetable soups and then use the hand-held blender to smooth and thicken it. It looked good too! We do eat rice as a staple food here but I personally do serve bread sometimes(most common here is white bread) as in sandwiches etc. as a substitute. This dish would also be another good idea!

  9. I usually blend soups such as tomato, pea or pumpkin soup. They taste better when blended :) Thanks for commenting!