“If you even remotely like pickles and you like soup, you gotta do Polish Pickle Soup. All hail the pickle.”
Our tiny town has a yearly soup festival – where every restaurant in town makes a cauldron of soup and everyone comes and – for an entrance fee which is donated to charity – they can try all the soups. I am a total sucker for anything in a broth, so the soup festival is a must.
They had a whole bunch of classic favorites. Clam Chowder (salty and delish). 5 Onion Soup (with fried onion rings on top!). Potato and Leek with a drizzle of salty balsamic glaze on top (don’t even get me started on Potato Leek Soup!!). And Polish Pickle Soup.
You read that right. Pickle. Pickle Soup.
It was amazing – and so different than every other soup we’ve ever made. It has a strong pickle sharpness in it, as well as a light creaminess that really soothes the palate. Well, let’s just say we were obsessed. We ate the whole cup of it – and then decided we had to make it ourselves.
Like with a lot of classic recipes (this is a real thing) there are whole bunch of recipes online, and you’re never sure which one is going to give you the same experience as the thing you tried and LOVED. Some of these had flour, some had egg, some had meatballs – all over the place! So we went off of three base recipes – (this one, that one, and that other one) and then threw in a little bit of “independent cookery skill.” This is what we came up with.
Recipe // Polish Pickle Soup, aka Zupa Orgokowa
Warning: I am not a professional chef. I do not use exact measurements. I provide guidelines. Season everything to your own taste. Leave out what you want to eat. Add what you enjoy. Take your time. Make with care. Assemble. Prep. Cook!
Makes: 6 servings of soup
Time: 15 min Prep Time, 30 min Cook Time
Survives: 3 – 4 days in fridge (depending on how many days in a row you can eat pickles)
Bang for Buck: $$ // A few ingredients here might put you back if you don’t have them – like the pickles and the veggie broth.
– 1 yellow onion
– 2 leeks
– a dash of olive oil
– some butter
– 4 cloves garlic
– 2 or 3 large russet potatoes, depending on how much you like potatoes
– dill pickle spears. I like Mt. Olive Brand. You can use whatever you want!
– 6 cups veggie broth
– 2 bay leaves
– household flour
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– cut onion into long “french onion soup”-like strips
– WASH THOSE LEEKS REALLY WELL BEFORE YOU CUT THEM.
– Snip off those long tough leek fronds. Only use the soft light-green/white parts
– cut leeks across the circle, so you get cute little leek rings
– WASH THOSE LEEKS AGAIN
– dice four cloves of garlic
– wash, peel, and chop up your potatoes. They work best as little cubes, big enough/small enough to fit on a quarter.
– chop up pickle spears into as big as a pieces as you want. //If you make them finer, they will be more incorporated into the soup. If you make them them bigger, they will stick out in the soup – but give you a splash of pickle flavor when you eat it! I preferred my pickle slices smaller – about dime sized. Foots preferred his to be quarter sized.
– SAVE SOME PICKLE JUICE FROM THE JAR.
– heat onion strips in a soup pot in olive oil over medium heat until translucent and sweaty (delish)
– add in those two leeks, YOU WASHED THEM RIGHT?
– throw in a good chunk of butter, (like two “pats”), just to add some sweet saltiness to those leeks and onions, it should make them good and shiny and smooth
– cook, while stirring, until butter is incorporated (about 2 minutes)
– throw in those garlic cloves and cook – stirring – until fully incorporated (about 30 seconds)
– throw in them taters! Get them all sweaty and covered in that butter. They’ll love it.
– throw in the pickles and then 1/2 cup of pickle juice. SAVE SOME PICKLE JUICE FROM THE JAR. You’ll need it later.
– Add 6 cups of veggie broth – or until as brothy as you like
– Add 2 bay leaves
– Boil for 10 minutes, cover on the pot
– While boiling, take a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of flour to 1/2 cup of heavy cream.Whip it up good. Leave on counter until ready. Unless your cat will eat it. Then put it somewhere he won’t eat it.
– At 10 minutes, open the top and pour in the cream/flour mix. Stir well. The pot should still be boiling.
– Smell the pickle-ness. If it is not pickle-y enough for you, add more pickle juice. Do this slowly so you adjust how much you like. It should be salty, but not like eating a pickle. // In total, we probably had 1 & 1/2 cups (the original 1/2 cup and then 1 more), but Foots wanted it VERY pickle-y). You do you, girlfriend. Add the whole jar if you want. Add none. Up to you.
– Cook for another 5 minutes.
– Return to the pot and taste the potatoes. Actually stick a fork into them and EAT ONE. You’re going to notice something funny. The potatoes won’t feel cooked on the outside – but they will taste cooked on the inside. They are done. The saltiness of the brine and the starchy flesh of the potato do something funny. The outside of the potato is actually some kind of “briny salt crust.” That is the most beautiful thing in the world. Don’t overcook the potatoes. Keep the crust. You’ll thank me.
– Stop the boil and let the soup come to room temperature. Store in fridge overnight and eat next day. // You could eat this soup immediately. In fact, all of the recipes we read said to. However, we NEVER eat a soup the day of. We always let it marinade. We feel that the soup tastes SO MUCH better – including this soup. But if your circumstances call for eating now – you can eat now.
Eating Now // Serve warm with a piece of toasty thick bread like a country loaf. Don’t use a ciabatta or a baguette or other sourdough flavors as the sourness of the bread doesn’t marry too well with the saltiness of the soup.
Eating Later // Reheat only the amount you’re going to eat on the stove or the microwave. Serve with toast. Lasts three days in fridge.
Scorecard // It helps to like pickles
Ease to Make: 4.5/5
This isn’t a hard recipe at all. The hardest part is adding enough pickles to make it suit your palate. It just loses points because it has a lot of chopping to do.
Time to Make: 4/5
Not hard at all. A lot of soups we make have a high cook time – 30 minutes of boiling usually. This is a quicker soup. And most of the time is standing time.
This pickle soup gets better with age. I don’t recommend eating on day one – because the flavors aren’t together then. On day two, you really get a swell, integrated mix of pickle, potato, and oniony goodness. On day three, it is a subtle bitterness. The pickles have mellowed and everything has marinated. I wouldn’t know about day four – we ate it before then!
We were getting into kind of a soup rut – with the same flavors over and over again, but with different chopped bits. This soup has such a different – and strong! – flavor that it really sticks out with you. We loved it.
Absolutely. This isn’t something to make every week – the pickle taste will get you, and your doctor might not like the sodium content in your blood. But this is certainly something to get you through a soup rut!
Final Judgement: 4/5
We are so glad to have found this – and we are excited to edit the recipe and try again! This is such a new and different recipe. If you even remotely like pickles and you like soup, you gotta do Polish Pickle Soup. All hail the pickle.