Soup is always on the menu in Poland and Christmas Eve is no exception. There will be at least one soup and quite possibly more for Wigilia. You could make Polish Christmas Eve Borscht or Barszcz Wigilijny and serve it in a cup to be sipped as a colorful and flavorful broth, or you might serve it in a bowl with uszka, little dumplings filled with a mushroom or mushroom and sauerkraut.


for the zakwas:

  • 1 pound red beets (500 g)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water, cooled to lukewarm (350 ml)

for the soup:

  • 1 large dried mushroom
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 pounds red beets (1 kg)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 parsley root
  • 4-inch piece of leek, the white part (10 cm)
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup beet zakwas


for the zakwas:

  • Wash, peel, quarter, and slice the 1 pound of beets
  • Add 1/4 of the beets to a sterile (sanitize in the dishwasher or boil for 10 minutes) glass jar or ceramic bowl, along with a clove of garlic, a peppercorn, and an allspice berry. Repeat. Add the bay leaf, Add two more layers.
  • Dissolve the salt in 1 1.2 cups of lukewarm water. Pour it into the jar or bowl and push in beets down into the water. Cover with cheesecloth. Let sit at room temperature for 5 -10 days. The longer it sits the stronger the flavor.
  • Strain, keeping the liquid. The beets can be eaten or discarded.

for the soup:

In a cup or a small bowl, cover the dried mushroom with 1/2 cup boiling water, set aside.

Peel and slice the beets, carrot, and parsley root. Add to a Dutch oven or soup pot, along with the cleaned and sliced leek, allspice, peppercorns, bay leaf, and water or veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover.

Pour the soup through a colander placed over a large bowl. Press the veggies to get all of the liquid out. The veg can be discarded at this point. To the liquid, add the sugar, salt to taste, 1 cup of beet zakwas, and the mushroom liquid. The reconstituted mushroom can be used in another recipe.

Your soup is ready to serve. If you need to reheat, just warm, don’t boil.

Article Categories:
Soup Recipes

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