Okroshka (окрошка)

(Russian Cold Cucumber Soup)

Okroshka

February 4: National Homemade Soup Day

A Russian friend of a friend came to our house blessing in Illinois and was kind enough to share a cultural dish for our special occasion. Kristina Y., whom we met through our Ukrainian friend Olga W., made a refreshing cold cucumber soup called okroshka. They explained that it is eaten during the short summer months in Russia and Ukraine.

Although it is still winter in the northern hemisphere, and hot homemade soups are on most menus, okroshka may still be enjoyed where the weather is warm (such as in the southern hemisphere).

For a refreshing Russian soup, try okroshka for National Homemade Soup Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Bella Online)

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced (green parts only)
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill, minced
  • 2-3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups cooked ham, chopped
  • salt to taste

Directions

Chop the cucumber, slice the green onions, mince the dill and chop the eggs. Place everything in a large bowl.

Okroshka

Pour in the water. Mix in the sour cream. Chop the ham and add it to the soup. Season with salt. Chill in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with additional dill (optional). Serve cold.

Okroshka

Notes

  • This soup is traditionally made with kvass (a fermented beverage made from rye bread). However, it is difficult to find kvass here so it is fine to use water as the liquid in the soup. Kvass adds a unique flavor to the soup.
  • Instead of ham, sausages or other flavorful cooked meats, such as lamb, beef or chicken, may be used in this recipe.
  • Sometimes ice cubes are added to the recipe to ensure a very chilled soup.
  • Thanks to Olga W. for the ceramic figurine from Ukraine which we used in the final food photo above.
  • January is also National Soup Month.

Leek and Tattie Soup

Leek and Tattie Soup

January: National Soup Month

We warm up in the wintertime with a traditional Scottish soup. Leeks and tatties (potatoes) are cheap and chunky to make a filling first course. Though this soup is simple, it is served at even the finest Burns Suppers. This is when the Scots get together on January 25 to celebrate the birthday and life of their national poet Robert Burns (1759-1796). Traditional Scottish food is served, such as soup, haggis, oatcakes, whisky and dessert. Guests enjoy poetry readings, bagpipe music and Highland dancing.

We like leek and tattie soup straight from the stock pot when we cook it at home. But sometimes we add milk and cream and puree everything in the blender to make a fancy French version of this soup called Vichyssoise. Savor the soup made with leeks and tatties during National Soup Month or on Burns Night on January 25.

Recipe

(Adapted from “Scottish Heritage Food and Cooking” by Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter)

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter, divided use
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Chop the onions. Wash and slice the leeks, discarding the thread-like ends on the white part. Wash, peel and chop the potatoes.

Leek and Tattie Soup

In a large pot, slowly melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute the onions and the leeks until soft (about 5 minutes) but do not brown. Stir in the potatoes and mix with the onions and leeks. Cook for about 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.

Leek and Tattie Soup

Notes 

  • Happy New Year and Hogmanay to our blog readers! Robert Burns wrote the traditional new year’s anthem “Auld Lang Syne”.
  • Thanks to our neighbors across the street, Glenn and Anna Maria B., who are pioneer settlement re-enactors, for letting us borrow their rustic clad iron soup kettle as a prop for the final food photo.
  • Search our blog for more Scottish and other soup recipes.

Won Ton

Won Ton

January: National Soup Month

Have a ton of fun by cooking crispy won tons or boiling them in a broth. For our new year’s festivities, we frequently feature fried won tons as an appetizer. For cold weather comfort food, we savor the soup. We doubled up on this delightful dumpling recipe post for our blog to wish our readers both a Happy New Year and Happy National Soup Month!

Recipe

(Adapted from Daddy)

For the crispy won tons

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 small can water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 large carrot, washed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • won ton pi (wrappers)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a little water

Directions

Dice the water chestnuts finely. Grate the carrot. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pork with the diced water chestnuts and grated carrot. Season with black pepper, garlic powder and oyster sauce.

Won Ton

With a won ton pi point down, place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle. Moisten the top edges with the egg wash. Press upwards to seal the triangle. Join the bottom points together, sealing with the egg wash.

Won Ton

Place each won ton in a tray lined with waxed paper. Freeze until firm. Transfer to a zipper-top plastic bag until ready to cook. For crispy appetizers, heat the oil and fry the frozen won tons in small batches until golden brown. Be careful not to splatter the hot oil while fyring them. Drain on paper towels. Serve with a favorite dipping sauce.

Won Ton

For the won ton soup

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 bunch of baby bok choy leaves, cut into two-inch pieces

Directions

For a hearty soup, do not fry the won tons. Instead, boil the chicken broth in a large pot. Mix in the soy sauce, sherry and sesame oil. Add frozen won tons and lower the heat to simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the filling is cooked through. For the last few minutes of cooking, add the boy choy leaves. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.

Won Ton

Notes

  • February 4 is National Homemade Soup Day.