PL: Zupa Szczawiowa, Barszcz Szczawiowy
When shopping for strawberries yesterday (they’re finally here!) I looked around the produce stall to see what’s new and in season.
There’s a great looking rhubarb – I made a quick mental note to came back for it soon – and… a beautiful voluminous bunches of fresh sorrel leaves.
There was no way I could leave them behind. I bought two “bouquets” without hesitation (or plan on what to do with them 😋).
I knew at the back of my mind that I have definitely tried sorrel in the past. Maybe as a soup in a school canteen? Or in a restaurant? It must have been a really long time ago, because I couldn’t recall its flavour.
The sorrel simply wasn’t an ingredient used in my family’s dinner repertoire. Being a city kid, I didn’t venture out to the fields much – so these spear-shaped leaves weren’t familiar to me.
All I remembered was that their flavour is on a controversial side. They’re one of those things that people either love or hate.
Looking For a Perfect Recipe
Back at home, I scanned my cookbook collection in search of an inspiration.
Having decided on brewing Szczawiowa – a Polish classic sorrel soup – I wanted to compare various recipes:
- Some of them are heavy on cream, others keep the soup clear.
- Many include additional leaves, such as spinach, nettle or sometimes kale.
- The texture differs as well: a number of formulas call for blending a soup into a cream, while the rest keeps the sorrel in its original form.
In the end, I’ve selected a classic recipe by Hanna Szymanderska – have a look at the bottom of the post for more details.
My Take On Szczawiowa
Being my usual rebellious-self, I altered the original method just a tiny-bit:
- Inspired by recipes from other books, I’ve added some extra nettle leaves. Spinach would work too!
- Szymanderska calls for blending the whole thing, but I’ve decided to leave around one-fifth aside and to return it to the soup later on. This idea proved to be a good one. The soup’s texture was more interesting and multidimensional.
How Does This Sorrel Soup Taste like?
According to my taste-buds, this Polish-style Szczawiowa is a quintessence of spring. It tastes fresh and tangy. I’m amazed that these innocent-looking, frilly leaves are in fact jam-packed with flavour!
Interesting fact: The oxalic acid present in sorrel makes the soup taste sour, but a touch of cream balances the flavours nicely.
If this green broth was thicker, I reckon it would make a great sauce or a pesto – perhaps for a fish dish? I’ll need to give it a try.
How To Serve It?
Literature mentions it can be served both hot and cold, but I would recommend the former. I didn’t enjoy it as much when it was chilled.
In Poland, the sorrel soup is traditionally served with:
- Sour cream: either mixed into the soup or as a dollop dropped in at the end. 12% cream should do the trick, but I’m sure you could replace it with a thicker natural yoghurt.
- Boiled egg (halved or quartered): a must! It compliments the soup beautifully.
- Mashed potatoes: totally optional. In some recipes, a portion of mash is added in the centre of the plate.
- Sausage: just like in case of żurek soup, a few slices of kiełbasa does wonders! Kiełbasa biała (the “white” sausage) works best.
Alternatively, you could try these garnishes (I shamelessly stole these ideas from menus of trendy restaurants):
- Fried Bacon Rashers: I love how it adds that extra crunch!
- Croutons: Again – adds some nice crispiness.
- Homemade baked potato chip: I’m definitely adding this next time!
- Lemon zest: Cut into thin strips, adds some visual appeal.
- Edible flowers: For decoration. I would go for something blue, a cornflower perhaps?
Sadly, the sorrel season is short, so enjoy it while it’s still around. I’m planning on freezing some (or perhaps storing it in a jar?) to use in the winder. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Save this “Polish Sorrel Soup with Boiled Egg” recipe to your “POLISH SOUPS” Pinterest board! And let’s be friends on Pinterest!