Legendary Dishes | Solyanka {Солянка} (winter soup pot)


This winter soup pot is associated with every type of indigenous food across the vast expanse of Russia, from beef and pork meat on the bone, cooked, cured and smoked meats and sausages, root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, leaf vegetables like cabbage and kale, plus beans, capers, garlic, lemons, mushrooms, olives, onions, peppers, pickles, sour cream and tomatoes, and seasonings including herbs and spices. Solyanka was one of the traditional food subjects on the food forum Povarenok, specifically this thread. This version is adapted from that conversation.

  • 1.5 litres + 1 litre water
  • 750 g pork chops
  • 600 g onions, sliced
  • 500 g potatoes, chopped into large pieces
  • 250 g cabbage, sliced thin
  • 250 g carrots, grated
  • 2 smoked pork sausages, cut into thick slices
  • 2 pickled gherkins, diced small
  • 100 g black olives
  • 100 g smoked pork loin, diced small
  • 4 tbsp sour cream (optional)
  • 50 g capers
  • 4 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 30 g dried forest mushrooms, soaked in water overnight
  • 30 ml sour juice from gerkhins
  • 30 ml rapeseed oil / olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste / red pepper paste
  • 15 g boullion / mixed seasonings
  • 2 tsp savory
  • 5 g allspice
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dill
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Place the pork chops in the bottom of a large heavy-base pot, dry fry for a couple of minutes until the chops begin to realise their fat. Turn the chops over and fry until the fat is released. Pour one and half litres of water into the bottom, bring slowly to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave to cool. Remove the meat, shred.

Add one litre of water to the pork cooking liquid. Add the potatoes, mushrooms, sausages, mixed seasonings, black pepper and salt, cover and cook for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes add the herbs, capers, cabbage, gherkins, tomato or red pepper paste and three of the mashed garlic cloves.

While the potatoes are cooking pour the oil into a large frying pan, fry the onions over a medium to low heat for 30 minutes. Add allspice, paprika and remaining garlic clove. Fry for 5 minutes. Add carrots, fry covered over a gentle heat for 15 minutes. Add the juice, reduce for five minutes.

Transfer the mixture from the frying pan into the pot followed by the pork chop meat and pork loin cubes. Heat through.

Serve with the olives, sour cream and lemon slices.