Dinner is served

Soup – the first dish in Polish cuisine. It used to be called pottage, and often constituted the whole meal. It has traditionally been prepared either on a substantial portion of bone or meat stock, thick, hot and stodgy. But spring has come – it is high time to reject the tradition.

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A small bowl of light liquid at the beginning of a meal is the best way to stimulate the stomach. Is has been confirmed by Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in his culinary work “The Physiology of Taste” – “Pottage prepares for the reception of other dishes and digestion”. Let us move on to preparing a spring menu. We shall need a blender, as the time has come for vegetable creams. What shall we prepare – a green broccoli cream, a spinach soup or asparagus cream? I add colourful vegetable mixtures to the kitchen list – on a rainy Monday, the best will be a classical vegetable soup, for a Sunday lunch with friends I recommend an Italian minestrone. In warm May afternoons I shall settle for a culinary journey while preparing delicious cold soups. Memories of the taste of walnuts in Bulgarian tarator or the fiery red juicy tomatoes in Spanish gazpacho will stay in my mind for a long time. And also an obligatory bow towards baby-beetroots. Also as a cold soup.

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Italian Minestrone soup

Ingredients:
3 litres of vegetable stock                                 
100 g of smoked bacon
200 g of white beans                                        
2 tomatoes
250 g of celery                                                
1 small zucchini, sliced
2-3 potatoes                                                    
100 g of French beans
2 carrots (preferably baby carrots)                     
a few leaves of fresh basil
1 onion                                                           
sugar, salt, just minced pepper for taste
2 cloves of garlic                                              
a spoonful of oil
100 g green peas in pods

Preparation:

Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Chop the celery, carrots, potatoes and onion into little pieces. After the bacon, onion and garlic have been chopped into little pieces fry them in a pot with a spoonful of oil. Add the carrot and celery and then pour onto it a bit of the stock and boil it for about 15 minutes. The basis for minestrone prepared in this way is called soffritto. Add the potatoes to the mixture and boil it for another 15 minutes. Now add tomatoes cut into cubes, white beans and the leaves of basil. Pour in the rest of the stock and spice it up with salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper. Boil it all, then reduce the heat and stew it for about 45 minutes stirring it from time to time. Finally add the slices of zucchini, pea pods, French beans and boil for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Minestrone is served hot – sprinkled with parmesan or with a bit of green pesto.
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Cold baby beetroot soup

Ingredients:

1 bunch of baby beetroot leaves
300 ml of water
1 oblong cucumber
1 bunch of radish
125 ml of 18% cream
125 ml of yoghurt
Fresh chives
Sugar, pepper and salt for taste

 

Preparation:

Put the finely choppedbaby beetroot together with its leaves into salted boiling water . After this stock is prepared put it aside to cool down. Then cut the radish and cucumber into little pieces, Mix together the cold beetroot stock, yoghurt and cream and season it for taste. Finally add the radish and cucumber. The cold soup may be put aside for another 30 minutes into a fridge so that it has richer taste. Pour the soup into a bowl and sprinkle with chopped fresh chives right before serving. Bon appétit!
 


wycieczki