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Polish traditional ryemeal soup

Polish traditional ryemeal soup
Compiled by Dorota and Dominik Denysiewicz

Polish ryemeal soup with sausage, known as żurek, is typical of the 'sour' soups beloved by many Eastern Europeans.

A żur or sour (also known as kwas), the base for this soup, is created by fermenting rye flour with water in a jar or crock for up to five days.

In Poland, this is often served before the main meal of the day or as a hangover cure.


Ryemeal Sour:

  • 3/4 cup rye flour
  • 2 cups water boiled and cooled to lukewarm


  • 1/2 pound peeled and chopped soup vegetables (carrots, parsnips, celery root, leeks)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 pound fresh Polish sausage
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 2 cups ryemeal sour
  • 1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour mixed with 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 garlic clove crushed with 1/2 teaspoon salt to make a paste


Ryemeal Sour
In a medium bowl, mix together rye flour with lukewarm water. Pour into a glass jar or ceramic bowl that is large enough for the mixture to expand. Cover it and let stand in a warm place for 4 to 5 days.

  • In a large soup pot, bring soup vegetables and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add sausage, return to the boil, reduce heat and cook for another 30 minutes. Remove sausage from soup, slice when cool enough to handle, and set aside.
  • Strain stock through a sieve, pressing on the vegetables to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the vegetables, skim the fat off the stock and return the stock to a clean soup pot.
  • Add the ryemeal sour to the stock, adding salt if necessary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until vegetables are al dente.
  • Serve in heated bowls with mash potatoes on the side.


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