Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Zupa Koperkowa - Polish Dill Soup

Zupa Koperkowa : Polish Dill Soup

I had some friends who went on holiday to various East European countries, and when they returned, the brought back tales of culinary horror.  Not only was it nigh-on impossible to get a decent vegetarian meal in Latvia, but in Poland - horror of horrors - they put dill on EVERYTHING.  And my friends REALLY couldn't stand dill. Now I can't vouch for the veracity of these stories, but I'm pretty sure my friends would hate this soup...

This is a really simple soup that is really all about the dill, although it is really filling and creamy and would be good as a winter warmer, or as a summer soup.  Of course, the recipe I really wanted to do this week was a Polish Tripe soup, but the supermarket seems to have stopped stocking cow's stomach linings, so I will have to take a trip to Leeds Market to procure some.  You have been warned...

Zupa Koperkowa : Polish Dill Soup

1 Carrot
1 Potato
2 Parsnips
250ml Sour Cream
150g White Rice
1.5l Chicken Stock
1 Bunch of Fresh Dill
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper

1. In a large pan, heat your chicken stock.  Add the bay leaves and the carrot, potato and parsnip, all peeled and cubed.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes

2. After 20 Minutes, add the rice and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are soft.

3.  Finely chop the dill and add to the pan, along with the sour cream. Heat through

4.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with some extra dill for garnish.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Krupnik - Polish Barley Soup

Krupnik  - Polish Barley Soup
So, because I like to have themes on the blog (mainly as it's a good way to get inspiration for new soup recipes), welcome to Polish Month on Soup Tuesday!

I used to live down the road from a rather brilliant Polish restaurant - the food was cheap and cheerful, but blimey it was filling, and I think that's where I first got addicted to Polish cuisine.  The owner / waiter was always helpful in pointing out what was the special of the day and they did some killer pirogi, but one thing I never tried was the soup - being equally as addicted to dumplings as I am to soup, I always went for them first - and occasionally, the restaurant did serve tripe soup (which will be coming to the blog shortly...)

Since starting this blog, I've done a number of East European soups, and they have always been brilliant.  This one is no exception.  Krupnik is a sort of Polish minestrone, it seems - with various recipes adding or subtracting different elements - you could always try it without the mean - but the constant is the pearl barley.  Its a chunky soup that works well (as you would imagine) on a cold night.

Krupnik is not to be confused with the honey sweetened alcoholic drink of the same name, but I'm pretty sure it would go well with this soup too!  Also, the dried mushrooms I used in this recipe were given to me as part of a foodie pen pals parcel ages ago and I'd never used them until now, but they gave a nice meaty edge to the soup.

250g Chicken Breasts
150g Pearl Barley
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Carrots
2 Potatoes
1 Leek
1 Stalk Celery
2 Bay leaves
25g Butter
15g Dried Mushrooms
1/2tsp Ground Allspice
1.5l Chicken Stock
Fresh Dill

Krupnik  - Polish Barley Soup
1. In your soup pan, heat the stock, bringing it to the boil.  Cut the chicken breasts into small cubes, then put them in the stock, poaching them for 3 minutes until the meat is cooked.  Skim any scum from the stock as you do this.  Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside.  Take the stock off the heat for the moment

2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan.  Into this add the finely chopped onion and celery.  Cook until the veg starts to soften, then add the garlic, cubed carrot and leek, cook for another few minutes and then add the cubed potato.  Cook for another few minutes until all the veg is softened.

3.  Add the vegetables to the stock with the pearl barley, allspice and bay leaves.  Wash the dried mushrooms to remove any grit and then add these to the pan also. Bring the soup to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. 

4.  Check the mushrooms and barley are cooked and soft, then add the chicken back into the pan and heat through.

5.  Adjust seasoning to taste and then serve.  Garnish the bowls with plenty of finely chopped fresh dill.  Enjoy!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Smoked Haddock Chowder

Smoked Haddock Chowder
So, it's the new year and here is a new blog post.  And it's a special one.  This soup recipe makes 100 soups on the blog! Wow.  When I started doing this blog, mainly as a way to keep occupied and to inspire me to cook new and interesting things, I never thought I'd make it this far.  In the 3 years I've been doing this, I have found by cooking becoming increasingly more adventurous and that I've also gotten a lot more passionate about what I eat.

And the soups - who would have thought that there even were more than a hundred types of soup in the world?  And it seems that I've just scratching the surface - not just in terms of 'Ooh, what veg do I have in the cupboard?  Let's jam them into a soup...' which is a perfectly acceptable way of coming up with recipes, but also in terms of national dishes, soups particular to countries, cuisines and regions.  So many wonderful tastes and recipes yet to come.

So thanks to you, my lovely readers - some of whom I have talked to on twitter (and if I haven't, why not say hello - I'm @souptuesday) for reading this blog, and hopefully enjoying the soups I've made so far, and put up with my occasional ramblings and bad jokes.

As well as more soups this year, you can look forward to some more posts about what else I'm eating (after getting more than my own bodyweight in cookbooks for Christmas, I'm itching to try out some fancy-pants new dishes) and also the World Cup Food Challenge - much like the Olympic Food Challenge, where I will be cooking selected dishes from some of the countries taking part in that whole football thing (and showing off my shocking lack of knowledge about the beautiful game)  If you want to know more about it, you can read more (and find out which other food blogs are taking part) by clicking here

And without further ado, the 100th soup recipe - suggested by Mrs Soup, without whom, this blog wouldn't exist...

Smoked Haddock Chowder
300g Smoked Haddock
450g Potatoes
150g Sweetcorn
1 Large Onion
2 Leeks
75g Smoked Bacon
30g Butter
1 Bay Leaf
1tsp Fresh Thyme
700ml Water
500ml Milk
150ml Single Cream
3 Hard Boiled Eggs

1. In a large pan (I used a frying pan) gently heat the milk and then put the haddock in, simmering over a low heat for 5 minutes, until the fish it poached.  Take the pan off the heat, and using a slotted spoon, remove the haddock, putting it into a bowl for later, flaking it with a fork.  Also keep the poaching milk for later too!

2. Cut the bacon into small pieces.  Heat the butter in your soup pan and gently fry the bacon

3. Finely chop the onion and leeks.  Add them to the pan and then sweat the vegetables until they are soft

4.  Peel and cube the potatoes, then add these to the pan, cooking for a further few minutes.

5.  Add the water, milk, sweetcorn, thyme and bay leaf.  Bring the soup to the boil and then simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and starting to break up.

6.  Using a potato masher, break up the potatoes a little more, then add the haddock back into the pan, along with the single cream and reheat gently.  Test seasoning and adjust to your preference.

7 Serve with crusty bread and sliced boiled eggs on top of each bowl.  Enjoy!