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Żurek / Żur: Polish Sour Rye Soup Recipe

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
Zakwas (Sourdough Base)
1 Cup Rye Flour
2 Rye Bread Peels Optional, just the peels from 2 slices of rye bread.
3 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
3 Bay Leaves
2 Cups Warm Water
Soup
2 Biały Kiełbasa (Polish White Sausage), Chopped
Above Zakwas (Sourdough Base)
½ Bunch Parsley
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
3 Potatoes, Chopped
3 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Marjoram
To-Taste Amount Salt
To-Taste Amount Pepper
3 Hard-Boiled Eggs, sliced To be placed inside the finished soup.

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Żurek / Żur: Polish Sour Rye Soup Recipe

Żurek (żur) soup is especially common as a food eaten during the Easter holidays, and its distinct sour flavor would be best served from a sourdough bread bowl.

Cuisine:

Ingredients

  • Zakwas (Sourdough Base)

  • Soup

Directions

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Żurek (ZHOO-rek), or żur, is quite the traditional Polish soup with a distinctly sour taste, which comes from so-called sour leavening, originating from fermentation of rye flour and bread crusts. To serve żur like the Polish do, hollow out a round loaf of sourdough (zakwas) bread, similar to San Francisco’s Boudin Bakery serving their soups in the hollowed-out sourdough. This soup is often accompanied with hard-boiled eggs, a roll, and kiełbasy (kielbasa, Polish sausage), usually a white sausage, or biała kielbasa.

Like many Polish soups, żurek is a sour soup. In English, it is referred to as a “sour rye soup,” because it is made with soured rye flour along with meat. Meats that go with this soup are typically kielbasa, or smoked pork sausage, bacon, or ham. Though żurek is specific to Poland, a variation of it is also found in other western-Slavic cuisines; Slovakia has its similar kyslóvka, and the Czech Republic has their kyselo. There is also another Polish variant known as barszcz biały (“white borscht soup”), made with wheat flour instead of rye.

* Noteżurek is the diminutive form of żur.

* Note 2: The sourdough base, if done manually, will take 4-5 days to complete, so take that into consideration!

Steps

1
Done

Zakwas (Sourdough Base)

Pour the rye flour into a pot, preferably clay in nature.
Add the pressed garlic, then pour warm water into the mixture.
Mix it well enough so that the mixture is consistent and thickens slightly.

2
Done

Zakwas (Sourdough Base)

Leave for 4 to 5 days in a warm place, like on a windowsill. After these few days, it should have that distinctive sour smell. This dough can be stored in containers for up to a month. If mold forms on top, remove it before using the zakwas. Discard the bread crust and garlic before using.

3
Done

Żurek/Żur

Pour our sourdough into a large pot, add about a cup of water(to taste, acidity is adjustable), and bring to a boil.

4
Done

Żurek/Żur

When boiling, add the parsley, bay leaves, marjoram, and salt & pepper to taste. Add the chopped sausage.

5
Done

Żurek/Żur

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a separate pot.
Cook until soup gives off a strong aroma.
Add more salt, pepper and other seasonings to taste.

6
Done

Żurek/Żur

Turn off heat, then add the sour cream, eggs, and boiled potatoes.
Stir and serve in a hollowed-out sourdough bread bowl, if possible!

Christian E.

Christian started as a travel writer over at Everywhere Fare's sister site, Dauntless Jaunter. He is a xenophile who loves documenting cultures through their history, legends, stories, and, as it is here, their cuisines.

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