Many world cuisines have their own version of an onion soup. Most famous and well known is the French onion soup.
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.
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.
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)
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
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- Olive oil (or other oil) for cooking
- 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.
Cook with pleasure!