When Svet and I travel Russia, we will eat out allot. One of the main soups that I look for is solyanka. When we ask the cafe what soups do you have, you will hear borsch, solyanka and a mushroom soup listed, 90% of the time. Svet grabs the borsch and I perk up at solyanka.
I, as I have said before, I am half German and my Grandma made a form of solyanka from the old country. So it was natural for me just to dive into a good bowl of Russian solyanka when I first came to Russia.
Lets make a simple solyanka so that you can enjoy the taste from the East:
Recipe: Simple Solyanka from Russia:
Lets get the Ingredients:
300gr – beef or chicken or mushrooms or fish* (cubed in about half inch size)
5 or 6 – cups of water
200gr – smoked bacon, sliced
2-3 – Smoked Pork Sausages, diced (kielbasa)
400gr – salted cucumbers, diced (not vinegar)
1 – Onion, diced
2 – tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup – olives (ripe but green can bee added with the ripe)
3 or 4 – bay leaves
About a dozen capers or more (Capers – are the unripened flower buds of Capparis spinosa, a prickly, perennial plant which is native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia.)
Fresh Dill, chopped
Lets Make Preparation:
First place the beef, chicken or mushrooms (fish needs to wait as it will crumble to nothing.*) cut into cubes in a big pot, adding 5 – 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until done.
(*If using fish do not add fish at this point. I like to use mushrooms to prepare the soup, then add fish at the end. If mushrooms are not desired in the soup and fish is still desired, Just prepare the soup as normal with out the beef and we will add Fish in a few minutes.*)
Second cut bacon slices into squares, fry in separate skillet until lightly brown on each side. Add to the pot. (let simmer)
Third fry the onion with the bacon fat in the skillet that you just fried bacon in – until translucent. Add tomato paste, cucumbers, stir and fry a few more minutes.
Fourth during this few minutes of frying in the skillet it is time to add the fish to the big pot. Make sure that the fish gets about 3 to 4 minutes of cooking time before using the stock from the pot.*
Fifth add a cup of stock (liquid) to the skillet from the big pot and simmer about 5 more min.
Sixth pour contents of the skillet into the big pot together with the sausage (diced) and bay leaves, bring to a slow boil. (Simmer about 10 – 15 min.)
Seventh turn the stove off and leave the big pot sitting on the burner, add ripe olives. Leave for 20 – 30 min., then it is ready to eat.
Serve in a big bowl with a big daub of real sour cream, several lemon slices and a few capers to taste. (more the better)
Sprinkle with fresh diced dill and enjoy! YUMMY!!!
The fish situation is a matter of taste on my part. I like to have chunks of fish visible in the soup. So if you cook the fish to soon it will disappear as a solid form. That is ok because the flavor is still there.
The main ingredient which makes this dish so special is salted cucumbers. (salt pickles) It is a traditional to make pickles with a strong brine (no vinegar) flavored by garlic, currant leaves, horseradish and dill.
Windows to Russia Recipe!
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.