Polish White Borscht Recipe – Potatoes, pork, gravy?

Polish white borscht - sour rye soup

This is not your typical bright red/pink Ukrainian borscht, but rather a “white” Polish alternative better known as zurek or sour rye bread.

Well. Sort of, anyway.

I don’t have an exact recipe for you either, because as I often do, I found several recipes that looked kind of good or matched most of the ingredients I had, and I combined them all into a single dish that worked for me.

The result? In my case it ended up being thicker than I expected but was full of flavor and insanely hearty. I was stuffed before I reached the bottom of my bowl. No complaints here, that’s for sure, but it did kind of remind me of a thick potato soup or bacon’/sausage and gravy.

For a  cheap Polish dish, I sort of expected it to be more “one pot” style, but the recipes I used had all sorts of steps and I piled my various “completed” sections into bowls while other steps were being processed:
Sausage stock, boiled eggs, bacon, onions, polish kielbasa sausage links sliced

This is what happens when I forget to turn off the flash first, too.

Sausage stock, boiled eggs still in the shell, bacon, onions, polish kielbasa sausage links sliced - flash turned on, so the broth is greasy

Mmmm, greasy stock. :P

Stock, which I might add, that I made fresh from cooking the sausage first, using the water/fat off that, and cooking in down with the normal carrots/celery/onions/spices that you would expect from a stock.

And because I’m not one to let any food go to waste, I used the bacon grease to fry up some croutons instead of serving in a bread bowl, too.

Pepper being added to a bowl full of potatoes, sausage, bacon, boiled eggs and croutons Fry croutons in a skillet with bacon grease

That was probably one of the best parts. I really enjoyed having the egg on top, too, oddly enough. It added a different texture to the gravy soup/potato/pork base.

And it was surprisingly good the next day, cold right out of the fridge, because the potatoes still held their shape nicely. A lot of the recipes called for them to be pureed completely, but I’m glad I left it sort of chunky instead.

White borscht - Ukrainian Polish recipe for rye sour soup zurek with eggs, potatoes, green onions, bacon, sausage 

Here’s more or less the recipe I ended up with, give or take:

The broth:

  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Various herbs you like in your stock…salt, pepper would be sufficient even
  • 1 medium carrot, cut how ever you feel like
  • 1 stalk of celery , cut how ever you feel like
  • 1 link of kielbasa/Polish sausage
  • 1/2 package of bacon
  • 1/2 diced onion

    Sautee onion, garlic, and bacon in a skillet, while bringing water with sliced sausage to a boil in another pan. Cook the first until they’re all nice and brown, while the other cooks for about 20-30 minutes tops. You can also cook the eggs directly in this pot, too, so you don’t have to boil them separate. Just remember to remove them on time.

    Scoop out the sausage into a bowl. Scoop out bacon/onions into a bowl. Toss all the veggies and spices into your sausage water (add more water if necessary) and let cook for an hour or two…or until you remember it’s still on the burner.

    I tossed some of my onions and bacon in there, too, to help along the flavor. When it’s done, strain out all the chunks so you have a nice brothy goodness leftover to use for your soup.

  • The soup:

    • The makings from all of the above, including 4-6 soft-boiled eggs
    • 2-3 potatoes
    • Any number of things like rye bread, sour cream, horseradish, etc

    Dice and cook the potatoes. I did it separate for fear of them falling apart in the broth complete, but you could do it directly in the soup pot, too. I pulled out about a single potato’s worth and pureed/mashed it, to make the soup nice and thick. You could puree all of it, if you want. If you’re leaving it chunky, don’t stir it too much at this point or they’ll all start to denigrate. Add some flour if things are too thin for your liking.

    Add in the rest of your bacon, sausage, etc. Heat a few minutes until everything is nice and toasty.

    I saved some of my bacon to add to the top of mine because, well, I like having extra bacon where I can see it. :P Slice an egg or two per serving and add to the top as well.

    Green onions weren’t called for in any of the recipes I saw, but it sounded good, so those went on, too. What can I say? It’s not authentic, but it was DELICIOUS. And as for the croutons, rye bread is obviously preferred for authenticity and a bread bowl would work awesome, but for mine specifically, I chopped up some day old bread, fried it directly in the bacon grease pan, and voila….yumminess.

    And as for the recipes I loosely (very loosely) referred to, here are some of them:

    http://www.food.com/recipe/polish-white-borscht-bialy-barszcz-456809 (mostly for technique of cooking the various parts)
    http://www.grouprecipes.com/104350/polish-white-borscht.html (very, very simple recipe with only 5 ingredients)
    http://www.tastingpoland.com/food/recipes/white_borscht_recipe.html (sour dough recipe & stock spice suggestions)


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