Polish Dill Pickle Soup with Brined Croutons

Pucker up pickle lovers! If you have a thing for pickles, then you’ve got to try this soup. Creamy, vinegary, crunchy and warm, it’s everything that a good soup should be.
Pickle soup comes from one of the world’s sourest pickle makers, Poland. Commonly known as zupa ogórkowa (cucumber soup) it is made from sour, salted cucumber or pickles and potato. Russia and the Ukraine have their take on it too, known as rassolnik.

Grab a big pot along with your favorite jar of polish dill pickles and let your sour taste buds dance with delight.

Dill-Pickle-Soup-1Polish Dill Pickle Soup with Brined Croutons

Serves 4-6

1 stick butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup pancetta, diced
1/2 lbs (4-5 large) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 quart chicken stock
Fresh squeezed juice from 1 lemon
1 cup milk
1/2 jar of your favorite dill pickles, shredded or chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (I do a mixture of both because I like the texture) It will be about
3 tablespoons of brine from the jar of dill pickle
1/2 bunch dill, chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped
Lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste

Brined Croutons:
1/2 baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons brine from the jar of dill pickles

Go ahead and play around with adding more or less pickles, brine or even more stock to get the flavor and consistency you like.

For the soup: Heat the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta onion and garlic and cook until translucent about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes more. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning. Add enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes, reserving the rest for later. Cook at a simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Next, add the remaining stock, the fresh squeezed lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Next, add the milk and reduce the heat to low and simmer. Add the 3 tablespoons of brine from the dill pickle jar (or more to taste, I like mine nice and vinegary!) and stir well. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until creamy (I do leave some potato chunks for texture). Finally, add the shredded and chopped pickles, dill and chives. Give the soup a final stir and serve in big bowls topped with croutons and freshly ground black pepper.

For the Brined Croutons:
Melt the butter in a saute pan over low heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to one minute, then add the brine from the dill pickle jar. Brush this mixture onto both sides of the sliced bread, place on a baking sheet or tin foil, and broil, turning once until nicely browned on both sides. Remove from oven, cool and use to top the dill pickle soup.

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