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Solyanka is a traditional Ukrainian and Russian meaty soup that is just great in the wintertime. It is traditionally on the salty side with few vegetables so I modified the recipe to make it healthier and more nutritious. The most appealing quality of Solyanka is the tart salty broth and the variety of strong flavors you get from the different strong flavored ingredients in the soup. Served with thick slices of buttered Russian or Ukrainian rye bread, it makes a filling and satisfying meal. ...... For the MEATS - Traditional Solyanka is made with sliced sausages, smoked pork, beef and often whatever is available. I prefer to use lighter ingredients. The sausage I like is Hillshire Farms Lite Smoked Sausage, or their Turkey Kielbasa Lite. These have great flavor and half the fat of traditional Eastern European sausages. A few slices of hot salami alsao add good flavor but for low fat I use a couple of chicken breasts in addition to the Lite sausage. ...... For the BROTH - For the broth to have its correct flavor it should be made from beef. Making traditional beef stock with soup bones and scrap meats is time consuming. Store-bought beef broth is often too salty and weak to boot. My preferred method is to use Minor's Beef Base Concentrate. Not available in stores, you can find this at a restaurant supplier or online from Amazon. This is a highly concentrated beef paste that quickly makes a very high quality broth with little effort. A 16 oz tub of Minor's will keep in the fridge for up to a year and make over 5 gallons of flavorful stock. A tip for reducing salt is to use more Minor's Beef Base instead of salt to add more flavor. If you make this recipe, be sure to try Minor's Base, for it will make this soup much better, and will surely become a regular standby in your kitchen. ...... For the VEGGIES - Traditional Russian Solyanka will only have salt-preserved varieties like pickled cucumbers, olives, capers, and salted mushrooms. While including at least some of these is important to get authentic flavor, I like to add shredded cabbage, white onions, sliced celery, and stewed tomatoes for improved nutrition. I shred the cabbage fine so as to add a bit of thickness to the body of the soup. ...... For the GARNISH - Just as important as what goes into the soup is what you dress it with. Squeeze a wedge of fresh Lemon into each bowl, drop a dollop of sour cream into the center, and sprinkle chopped fresh Dill over the top and you will be in heaven. These add contrasting flavors and make the soup a genuine delight.
- 10 cups water
- 4 tablespoons minor's beef base
- 1 lb hillshire farms low-fat sausage
- 2 cooked chicken breasts
- 1⁄4 cup sliced hot salami
- 2 medium onions
- 3 large dill pickles
- 2 (14 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1⁄2 head cabbage
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 black peppercorns
- 4 allspice berries
- 1 cheesecloth, satchel for spices
- 2⁄3 cup dry white wine
- 3⁄4 cup sliced black olives
- 1 tablespoon oil (for frying)
- 1 lemon (to garnish)
- 1⁄2 cup light sour cream (to garnish)
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh dill (to garnish)
- THE BROTH:.
- Put water and Minor's Beef Stock Conentrate into large pot and heat to boiling. Put peppercorns, bay leaves, and allspice into cheescloth satchel and place into pot. Once boiling, add shredded cabbage, sliced celery, reduce heat, and simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- MEAT and VEGGIES:.
- Put oil into large frying pan and heat. Cut sausage into slices no thicker than 1/8"and put into pan. Cut pre-cooked chicken into thin long slices and put into pan. Cut onions into half-rings and put into pan once meat has been slightly browned. Slice pickles into thin strips and add to pan along with the tomato paste. After two minutes put into pot.
- PUTTING IT TOGETHER:.
- Put all of the pan-fried ingredients into the pot, add the sliced olives, stewed tomatoes, capers, and heat to a slight boil. DO NOT RAPIDLY BOIL - or the flavor will be killed. Add the white wine and simmer the pot for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cheescloth satchel from the pot and ladle the soup into bowls. Provide your dining guests the garnish of lemon slices, chopped dill, and sour cream. Enjoy as I am sure you will!