Fermentation [Zurek – Polish Fermented Ryemeal Soup]

Polish fermented ryemeal soup - Zurek    polish fermented ryemeal soup  - zurek

Between myself and m hay, meals at my house can be somewhat unpredictable. As a chef, my sweetie is always experimenting and testing his ideas for new dishes, and I am often guinea pig #1. So imagine my surprise when he got into a rut of eating just miso soup for breakfast.

Since his troubles with kidney stones, m hay has been trying to eat better. For him, this largely means eating less restaurant food. To be honest, I had my doubts when he started that he could stick with the changes. But now he’s drinking kale juice and feeling the benefits that fermented foods, like miso soup, can have on the body.

Zur, or fermented ryemeal, is the Polish version of miso. It’s great for digestion. Be forewarned — it has a boozy edge because it’s made with rye. Anyone who has had kvass, or rye bread soft drink, will know the flavour I’m talking about. Enjoy and best of health to you all in the new year!

Zurek (Polish Fermented Ryemeal Soup)

For the Ryemeal Sour:

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

Mix together the rye flour and warm water. Pour into a tall glass jar. The mixture should not go more than three quarters of the way up the sides of the jar. Cover with cheesecloth and let stand in a warm place, undisturbed, for 4 to 5 days. If the sour isn’t used immediately, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

For the Soup:

6 cups ham stock
2 cups ryemeal sour
1/2 pound pork kielbasa sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 bunch beet greens or swiss chard, roughly torn and large veins removed
1 medium yellow onion, diced very finely
4 large garlic cloves, pounded to a paste
1 tbsp. hot paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. vegetable oil

Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot placed over medium-high heat. Brown the kielbasa slices in the oil and then remove them from the pot.

Reduce heat. Sweat the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is lightly browned. Pour in the ryemeal sour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. The sour will begin to thicken as it cooks out. Pour in the ham stock. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes.

Return the kielbasa to the pot. Stir in the greens. Cook until the greens are wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with bread and hard boiled eggs, if you have them.

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One thought on “Fermentation [Zurek – Polish Fermented Ryemeal Soup]

  1. Gorgeous and interesting. I love to learn about food and you come up with some cracking stuff. Perhaps I’ll have to venture into Polish cuisine eventually. Currently stuck on Middle Eastern :D

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