Soup bootcamp

solyanka, a warm soup for cold days - just the right soup after hiking in Thormsörk

You see, I take this seriously. I get prepared for my trip to Thorsmörk, Iceland. Which means, I get tipps and tricks from the best: Grandma. As one of my main tasks as a Winter Cabin warden will be to provide guests with information, guide some shorter hikes in the area and: Prepare meals, especially soups I asked her to give me some tipps. Here you will find two recipes: Pea soup and Solyanka á la Granny.

So, I got a glimpse into to my cook books and decided to cook some of the most famous soups of my Grandma Karla: The pea soup and Solyanka. The latter, for all of you who weren’t born neither in the Slavian area nor in the former GDR, is a Russian soup with spicy ingredients. I called her up and asked, if we can meet for a little cooking session. I am glad I’ve got such a young and lively grandma. She was totally excited that I am going to be a volunteer in Iceland. She holds that a shot of selfmade elderberry schnaps is good for health, mood and everything else. So, before we started the soup cooking session of two family generations we had a shot of elderberry schnaps. After that we were ready for the preparation. Both soups are pretty easy and do not need too much time to be prepared, so I guess they will end up in my standard repertoire. Although I’m not sure how long it will take me to prepare meals for more than 4 people. I guess, I have to learn how to handle that. At least my Italian room mate Sara always asked me, why I’m not able to cook only one portion when I’m alone. I don’t know why, but I guess it can be an advantage for me to cook for groups now.

We decided to start with the pea soup as we had to boil the peas in the pressure-cooker, which took us about 1h as we bought the wrong kind of peas. And this is my first hint for this soup: The best dried peas are the peeled ones. There’re two reasons why: As I mentioned before will the peeled ones be much easier and faster to boil. Over and above the peeled peas make the soup more creamy and digestible, which can be important at a hut where you’re at close quarters, if you know what I mean.

Pea Soup

Pea soup is one of the most typical German soups, I guess. You can typically find it in canteens and simple taverns. All the boys love it. It is simple, nutritive, hearty and tasty. My Grandpa, my dad and my uncle always have a second helping with Pea soup. So, if there are German guests, maybe I can do them a favour with a warm pea soup.

ingredients

  • dried & peeled peas (green)
  • potatoes
  • cracker
  • onion
  • bay leafs
  • corns of black pepper, salt

method

  1. First of all, you either soak the dried peas in warm water for several hours or you wash and boil them within the pressure-cooker.
  2. Peel your potatoes and cut them into small pieces. Boil the potatoe dices together with a trace of salt and the peppercorns as well as the bay leafs.
  3. After the peas and the potaoes are cooked, strain off the boiling water, but do not tip away, but leave some of it in a cup. You might need it to stretch the soup, if it is too thick.
  4. Cut the cracker in two and then make thick slices out of it. Get it into a pan and roast them until they start to crumble. Put them aside.
  5. Now mix the peas and potatoes together and add the cracker and gently stir it. If the soup is too thick, pour in some of the pea or potaoe boiling water. Add some seasonings, if needed. Et voilá!

Solyanka

This is a soup which tastes a little bit sour, but immidiately warms you from inside if it is cold outside. Actually I didn’t like this soup when I was younger, because it was sour, but it seems like the older you get the more you enjoy things which you find disgusting in that time. Maybe the taste buds get ruined over the years. Btw: I always leave out the sour creme as I think it totally deflects from the taste of the soup and therefore is unnecessary.

ingredients

  • onions
  • gherkins
  • salami
  • paprika
  • deep-frozen peas
  • peeled, hashed tomatoes (tin)
  • tomato paste

method

  1. Chop the onions in small pieces and get them stir fried in oil. After they got a bit brown you should pour some water over them and let them simmer.
  2. Begin to chop the gherkins and add them to the onions boiling. Do the same to the crackers, add them as well and let all boil up.
  3. Now prepare the paprika (pepper). If you use fresh vegetables fry them a bit before you add them to the rest. If you use paprika out pickled peppers you can simply add them.
  4. Boil everything up once again and add the tomato paste and hashed tomatoes. You can also use passed tomatoes instead of hashed tomatoes, i you like.
  5. Let the soup simmer while cutting the salami or any other kind of sausage. If you like, you can fry the salami as well, but me for myself always get it right in the soup as it makes no sense to me to fry something which will end up boiling in a liquid anyway.

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