Solyanka Soup

Solyanka Soup

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
274 Calories
13g Fat
17g Carbs
20g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 274
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 2199mg 96%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 23mg 115%
Calcium 105mg 8%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 696mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Solyanka (also spelled soljanka) is a Russian soup that dates back to the 15th century. The recipe has been adapted and changed over the years to accommodate what meats and vegetables are available, and like many time-tested dishes, there are several renditions. Solyanka is also made in three different versions: meat, fish, and vegetable (most often mushroom), with meat being the most common. Solyanka is an "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" type of soup, but it tastes so much better than that name implies. It's often considered the ultimate hangover cure because it replaces the salts lost after a night of revelry.

This hearty, thick soup is made with salty cured meats, sausages, olives, capers, pickles, cabbage, and sometimes carrots. The broth is a combination of beef base and an herbal sachet; bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice berries are bundled in a piece of cheesecloth and tied to the pot handle for easy retrieval. Garnish with fresh dill and sour cream, and serve with whole-grain or rye bread for dunking.

Ingredients

For the Soup:

  • 2 large bay leaves

  • 6 whole black peppercorns

  • 4 whole allspice berries

  • 10 cups water

  • 4 tablespoons concentrated beef base

  • 1/2 medium head green cabbage, shredded

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped celery

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1 pound dried Polish kabanosy sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 2 medium cooked chicken breasts, cubed

  • 1 cup ham, cubed

  • 3 large dill pickles, coarsely chopped

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes

  • 3/4 cup sliced black olives

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Optional Garnishes:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill, or to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Solyanka soup ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Make a spice sachet by adding the bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice in a square of cheesecloth. Tie with a long piece of butcher's twine.

    Make a spice sachet by adding the bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Using the ends of the butcher's twine, tie the sachet onto the handle of a large soup pot so that the sachet hangs into the pot.

    Spice sachet hangs in a large pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the water and beef base to the soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the shredded cabbage and chopped celery and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

    Add the water, beef base, shredded cabbage and chopped celery to the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until translucent. Add the sausage, chicken, ham, pickles, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer to the soup pot.

    Onions, carrots, sausage, chicken, ham, pickles, and tomato paste cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Add the stewed tomatoes, sliced olives, and capers, and bring it barely to a boil. Add the wine and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

    Add the tomatoes, olives, and capers to the soup pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Remove the sachet and discard. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper if necessary.

    Solyanka soup with the spice sachet removed

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Ladle the soup into hot bowls and garnish with the sour cream and dill. Serve hot.

    Solyanka soup in a bowl with sour cream and dill

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Tips

  • You can substitute homemade beef stock in place of the beef base if you prefer. Use 5 cups stock and reduce the water to 5 cups.
  • If you don't have cheesecloth, you can use other items you may have in the house such as a coffee filter, fine-mesh bag, cotton fabric, or pantyhose.