Not every recipe is a winner. In fact, a good chunk of recipes really aren’t that great at all.
Sometimes that’s because they’re simply boring or bland or not that special.
Other times, though? It’s because they’re nasty.
It all started with these innocent cans. I don’t even know why we had them or where we got them at this point. I don’t recall intentionally buying them because I’m not a huge fan of hominy. It had been years since I’d tried it, though, so maybe I had bought them on sale and wanted to compare kinds.
Or maybe some evil friend of the family passed them on to us because -they- didn’t like them. Whatever the origination, they sat in our pantry for quite a while before I finally found a recipe that I thought would both use them up -and- cover any taste or texture issues I had with them.
Lots and lots of onions and peppers for to give it flavor….
Plenty of bacon for good measure, because really, what can’t bacon cover and make better?
(I’ll give you a hint…this dish.)
Piled high with with cheese because well….bacon…cheese…. what could go wrong?
Ultimately, no matter how it looked, it was not a favorite. In fact, on top of the poor texture and us all wishing we had stuck with only bacon and cheese, it was too hot for a couple of them. None of them could ever remember what it was called, but it went down in kitchen history as “that hot stuff you made that one time” or “that nasty thing you made that one time.”
As in, 2 years after the fact:
Me: Hey guys, what do you want for supper?
Them: Not that stuff you made that one time. ‘member? That hot yellow nasty stuff you made? I don’t want that.
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:
This is what happens when I forget to turn off the flash first, too.
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.
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.
Here’s more or less the recipe I ended up with, give or take:
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 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)
Instead of editing my old Breakfast Music Videos post, I thought I’d share these two videos with you directly.
Both of them can end up being addictive, so um, consider yourself warned that they’re silly, but catchy.
Num, num, num, num, num, num, num…..bacon!