I will always remember the lesson I learned once from a chef who decided to give a few pointers to me when I first started cooking for others. "There are two things which say how good a chef is. Their eggs and their soups. If you can't cook these two things, you just can't cook." It's one of my life's goals to master as many ways to cook these two.
And because soups play such an important part in the Polish diet, I have many recipes and inspirations to draw from.
Typically, soups in Poland are eaten before the meal and are very common place. My father often requests that I make for him a soup of some kind and there are often times when we make soup together while spending time together. As long as I remember, he and my mother have told my brother and I that eating soup before a meal is "good for the digestion". It's a line I have also heard many times from my Dziadkowi (grandparents).
Children in preschools and in schools everywhere might eat soup as part of their lunches provided by the school or sent from home. My older daughter has fond memories of her first trip to Poland being filled with such soups. One of my cousin's mother-in-laws made a fantastic lunch for us all to share together one day before a trip to the local zoo. We had freshly made Ruskie Pierogi and "Pickle Soup".
"Pickle Soup" is a phrase my older daughter had thought she had made up once as a two year old joking whether turkeys ate certain foods. And every time I had told her, "You know, there is such a thing as Pickle Soup in Poland." I had even made it for her a few times without telling her because she was convinced she would hate it since she hates pickles. She always called it "Vegetable Soup" and gobbled it up.
So, the other day I made Zupa Kalafiorowa, a dish I had always loved. Once again, my children gobbled it up. I had made a very large pot of it and it was gone within two days.
When I had told my father I made it, he came right over for dinner and was very pleased with it. He even said it was just like his mother's, except that it is usually not made with dill. But, I love dill and for me, dill celebrates Spring. And since I am now living in a place that is two months slower in Spring's arrival than what I am used to, I have been using more dill to keep my spirits up. So, contrary to the classic version of this soup, I added dill this time. But the dish does not need it, so it is up to you.
1 large head of Cauliflower, washed and cut into very small florets
2-3 Carrots, washed, peeled and julienned
3-4 Potatoes, washed, peeled and finely diced
Salt and Pepper
1 Egg Yolk
Heavy Cream (or Sour Cream, if you need to substitute)
Dill and/or Curly Parsley, if you like
In a large pot, add the Cauliflower, Carrots and Potatoes. Add enough Broth to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Allow to cook until all ingredients are soft.
Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
Remove from heat. Quickly mix in the egg yolk and enough Heavy Cream to lighten the soup and thicken a bit, perhaps about 1/2 cup. Bring back to heat and allow to warm up but do not bring to a boil.
Serve with a garnish of Dill or Curly Parsley, if you like. I added the dill to the soup as it was cooking as my own personal preference.
I served this soup with a Polish Meatball in the center this time since my husband is not a soup or meatless meal person and I am slowly easing him into eating more like in Poland, since his dream is to one day live there.
This dish is always much more tasty the next day since the flavors get a change to blend together more in the refrigerator overnight but is still really delicious the day you make it.
I hope you will forgive me that the picture is taken with my phone as the picture needed to be taken quickly since my toddler (I can't believe I can't call her a baby anymore) is teething three fangs at once and just not happy.