Polish Christmas: The soups!

Wigilia without a soup - it’s simply impossible!

As your probably already know from the essential guide to Polish Christmas, Christmas Eve is a traditional fast-day and many people don’t eat anything all day long and soup is usually the first dish to be served. The reason for that is very simple - your stomach needs to get ready for the feast that comes right after!



Borshch, fish soup, mushroom soup or dried fruit soup are by far the most popular ones - however, it differs among the regions of Poland, as I mention in previous post.

Let’s start with barszcz, in Western world known as borscht, bortsch, borshch, borsch… I will stop here, I hope you all know what I am talking about! :)

The main ingredient of barszcz is burak (beetroot) - it gives the soup great deep red colour. It looks especially great on white table-cloth or your white silk blouse… ;-)

There are countless variations of this soup, however, carrots, onions, dried mushrooms, garlic and marjoram play the biggest role in it, right next to the king of barszcz - the beetroot.

It’s also extremely popular to serve barszcz with uszka (similar to Italian ravioli) or with paszteciki (pastry filled with mushrooms and sauerkraut).


Next popular soup is zupa rybna - fish soup. It can be made of basically any fish, however, as you will find out tomorrow, karp (carp) is ruling Christmas Eve’s table.

It’s traditionally served with different types of kasza (kasha) - pearl barley is the most common.


Third place goes to zupa grzybowa - mushroom soup! It’s usually made of different types of dried mushrooms: penny buns, red-capped scaber stalks, golden chanterelles, sticky buns, Bay Boletes.

However, every year hundreds of people end up in hospital after eating soup with toxic mushrooms, that can be easily mistaken with the edible ones: death caps, royal fly agaric, etc. Side note: those two mushroom are called in Polish “muchomor”. The name suggest they are toxic - “mucha” means “a fly”, and “mor” as I assume is from Latin verb “morior” meaning “to die”. People used them widely to kill those annoying flying insects!

Anyway, I still love zupa grzybowa, you just need to get the mushrooms from a reliable source :)


And last, but not least, comes zupa z suszu - the dried fruits soup. It’s made from dried plums, dried apples and dried pears with addition of cinnamon and cloves.  Some people also like to add śmietana (sour-cream) and some kind of pasta to it.


In my family we always drink barszcz and eat paszteciki :)

I know that Polish soups may look… unusual for those who are used to creme-soups. But trust me, they are delicious! :)

I hope you enjoyed this post, I am really hungry now!

And now another Polish Christmas song! This time something more modern - "Gdy Wigilia Jest" by Feel. I would call it Polish “Last Christmas” of Wham, you can hear it all the time when the Christmas time is coming. Enjoy!



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