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Russian Onion Soup Solyanka

Russian Onion Soup Solyanka


Many world cuisines have their own version of an onion soup. Most famous and well known is the French onion soup.

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Russian cuisine should be proud not only of the famous borscht – a cabbage soup, but its onion soup as well. This is really a Russian winter soup – you don’t want to eat it in summer. The soup is tart, acidic, warming, and so delicious.

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Just follow these simple steps to prepare this soup, and you will enjoy the Solyanka – a wintery onion pleasure.

Next day the soup will be even richer in flavor and taste.

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Russian Onion Soup Solyanka


one 3 quart pot


For the stock:

  • 12-15 oz beef for soup (I use beef shank)
  • 1 small-to-medium onion
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled
  • 1-2 sticks celery (optional)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 10-12 black peppercorns
  • 10-12 coriander seeds (optional)
  • Salt

For the soup:

  • 1 lb assorted meat (preferably at least three varieties:  ham, lean bacon, sausages, franks and so on)
  • 1 lb onions (about 2 large Spanish onions), sliced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned  (carrot is optional)
  • 5-7 oz in brine or pickled cucumbers (about 2-3 large cucumber)
  • 3-4 tbsp capers (optional)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup cucumber brine or marinade from a jar
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Olive oil (or other oil) for cooking

For serving:

  • Black brined olives (3-5 pieces per serving in a bowl)
  • Lemon slices
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh parsley, cilantro or dill




In a large stock pot, combine the beef, onion, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander, and salt with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil; skim the scum with a large spoon or fine mesh strainer. Lower the heat, cover half way with a pot lid, and simmer for 1 – 1 ½ hours.
Remove the meat from the pot, discard the onion and carrots. Cool the beef slightly.

Cut the meat products into small cubes or strips.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan heat the olive oil (or other oil). Add the onion and cook on medium-to-low heat for about 10 minutes.

Add carrots, if using. Cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add the pickled cucumbers, cucumber juice, tomato paste, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cold meats, beef, pour the strained stock, and bring to a boil. Adjust the amount of salt (remember, that the cucumbers, cucumber juice, and the stock are salty). Simmer the soup for 12-15 minutes. Add the capers. Simmer for another 3-5 minutes.

Let it stand.

Serve the soup with 4-5 olives, a slice of lemon and a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.

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Cook with pleasure!


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