Zurek (żur, żurek) or Sour Rye Soup is traditionally made of sour rye flour, pork sausage, and hard-boiled eggs. Some families substitute the sausage for wild mushrooms, such as Borowik (Porcini) or Podgrzybek (Bay Bolete). Other households also add potatoes or even turnip. Chopped parsley or marjoram is almost always added as a garnish.
Zurek is eaten throughout the year in most Polish households but is an essential part of a Polish Easter. In some Polish restaurants this soup is now served in an edible bowl made of bread, although, I’ve yet to see any normal family here in Poland serve zurek in this way.
Here is our own family’s recipe for Zurek soup. This is the one we use at Easter.
• 100 grams Sourdough
• 50 grams of sausage
• 3 or 4 hard-boiled eggs
• a handful of dried wild mushrooms
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1/2 cup cream
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 or 4 allspice seeds
• 2 tsp marjoram
• 1.5 litres of water
Many shops now sell very good ready-made soups, sold in cartons or as a powder in packets. Popular brands include: Knorr, Winiary, Rolnik, and Krakus. We do when in more of a hurry make use one of these as a base. Adding our own sausage or wild mushrooms, and hard-boiled eggs, to make more of a hearty meal.
Zurek is similar to another Polish soup – barszcz biały (white borscht), which is made from white wheat flour rather than rye.