by Marta Szumiata
on February 10, 2020

Żur

According to Aleksander Baron, ‘Żur’ is the quintessential Polish dish. It is a traditional soup served for Easter breakfast based on fermented rye flour, creating a very specific aroma, acidic taste, and broth. Pork is the most common broth used, prepared from smoked sausage, bacon, ribs, and ham. The essential ingredient is mushroom – fresh, fried, or dried. ‘Żur’ is famous for featuring a great amount of garlic and horseradish. Other ingredients include boiled egg, potato, bread, and root vegetables. However, every single home (and cook) has its own (secret!) recipe. There is a second variation of the soup called ‘Barszcz biały’ in which rye flour is replaced with wheat flour. Aleksander has prepared it on fermented buckwheat that adds particular flavor and it is suitable for people with celiac disease. He tried the option with Jewish sweet bun ‘chałka’ as well.

Leaven

ingredients

  • 700 g rye flour
  • 3,5 l water
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon allspice grains
  • 1 teaspoon caraway

preparation

Put the flour in a big 4-liter jar, pour one liter of water and mix well (no clumps). Add the next liter, stir again, and add the remaining liquid. Roast all the spices on a dry frying pan. When they start to exhale an intense aroma, add them to the jar. Bisect the garlic and add as well. Shake the ingredients in the jar, then blend precisely. Repeat this step every several days. Keep the leaven at room temperature. It is ready after about two weeks.

Duck

ingredients

  • 1 whole duck
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • half teaspoon caraway
  • half teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • salt, to taste

preparation

Peel the garlic and smash it into a paste. Add salt, pepper, caraway and mix well. Rub the duck with the mixture (outside and within). Leave it for several hours—up to the whole night. Roast the duck in a preheated to 200ºC oven for 15 minutes. Then, decrease the temperature to 135ºC and keep cooking for another 45 minutes. When cooled, separate the meat from bones.

Broth

ingredients

  • duck bones
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 big parsleys
  • 1 celery
  • 2 onions
  • half head of cabbage
  • 1 leak
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 6 allspice grains
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 anise
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter

preparation

Cut leek, cabbage, and root vegetables (cubes or slices) without peeling (the skin improves the taste). Melt the butter, then fry all the ingredients and spices to obtain a golden colour. Burn halved onions over the fire or on a dry frying pan. Put all the ingredients and duck bones in the big pot and add 3-4 liters of water. Simmer it for 3-4 hours. Drain the soup and leave only the bouillon.

Żur

https://blog-assets.foodpairing.com/2020/02/blog-newsletter_022020_zur2_cabbage_body-copy.png

ingredients

  • 1-2 liters leaven
  • 4 liters bouillon
  • duck fat
  • 800 g fresh ceps
  • 4 onions
  • 6-8 potatoes
  • 6-10 cm root horseradish
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 500 ml full-fat cream
  • 10 sprigs of marjoram
  • 10 sprigs of thyme

preparation

Divide the duck fat into 4 parts and fry with the following ingredients: chopped onion, duck meat, cut ceps, and peeled potatoes. Peel and chop garlic and horseradish. Blend them with cream. Boil the bouillon and add some leaven to taste (the amount is largely up to your preference). The leftovers can be kept in the fridge as long as you want. Add the rest of the ingredients—onion, meat, ceps, potatoes—and boil the mixture. At the end, pour the cream and turn the fire off. Be careful to not heat the cream too much, as it can curdle. You can mix it with a little amount of soup before and then, pour it into the rest. Serve ‘Żur’ warm with fresh marjoram and thyme.

The information derived from the book “Między wódką a zakąską” by Aleksander Baron & Łukasz Klesyk, PASCAL.

by Marta Szumiata
A confectioner, food technologist and culinary reenactor. Loving food, Marta is still exploring culinary world looking for new inspirations and bewildering dishes. She likes to try her created recipes on her family and friends, especially fermented ones

Recommended for you

Stay informed on all Foodpairing® matters

Join our newsletter to receive updates on Foodpairing® ingredients, exciting pairings and tips & tricks to inspire your creations.