if there is a soup i adore, it’s krupnik. krupnik is a Polish soup, made with (usually) meat broth, containing potatoes, grated parsnip, grated carrot, and barley groats. Kasza, Polish name for groats, was in the past called ‘krupa’ or ‘krupy’, hence the name of the soup.
with a bit of freshly chopped dill and some fresh cream, it’s home.
Kasza (or groats in English) is often mentioned as the staple food of the Slavic tribes, as long ago as the 10th century. According to Hanna and Pawel Lis, authors of the very interesting and well-researched book Kuchnia Słowian (“Slavic cuisine”) agree with this claim, saying that the main Slavic industry was agriculture which, in turn, was mostly concerned with growing many kinds of grains. Processing grains into groats was not an especially difficult task, although very physically demanding, as it used to be done by hand, with the use of simple tools. The end product – different types of groats, was much easier to prepare as a meal than grains, and much more easily digestible (the fact of which medieval Slavic tribes were not necessarily aware of).
There are many varieties of groats available in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe (especially in Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Russia and Hungary), and they are still widely consumed, as a side dish or as a part of meals. The most popular type of groats in the Slavic areas was millet. Millet groats are simple to store and they keep well. They are also easy to cook and to incorporate into many dishes, including desserts. Other popular types of groats are: kasza gryczana (buckwheat groats), kasza jęczmienna (barley groats) and kasza manna (semolina), often served with milk to small children.
Although not as pretty as pure, white rice, groats are a delicious and much healthier equivalent: they contain higher amounts of fibre than white rice and a high amount of protein. They are filling, provide us with a lot of energy and due to the huge variety of groats, we can experiment with flavours and textures almost endlessly. Ready to start your kasza adventure with the perfect autumn soup, krupnik?
KRUPNIK, AUTUMN VEGETABLE AND BARLEY SOUP
3 tbsp barley groats
3-4 chicken wings
1 bay leaf
2-3 allspice berries
4 small potatoes
1 big carrot
1 big parsnip
1 or 1/2 small celeriac
fresh dill (you can use dried in the winter)
100ml fresh cream
How to make?
1. Wash barley groats in cold water, drain and set aside.
2. Wash the chicken wings, put them into a pot and add 1,5 litre of cold water. Add salt and bring to a boil at medium heat. Once boiled, lower the heat and simmer for about 40min with the lid on.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Peel the potatoes, parsnip, carrot and celeriac. Cut potatoes into small cubes, and grate the rest of the root vegetables. Cut the onion into big chunks.
4. After simmering for 40min, take the meat out of the pot, and set aside. Add all the vegetables to the pot, with the bay leaf and allspice berries. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.
5. Add the meat from the chicken wings, cut into pieces (or simply stripped off the bone) to your soup. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. You can eat your soup like that, with a bit of freshly chopped dill or you can add some cream. To do so, take out a ladle of soup and pour into a mug or small bowl, add the cream, and mix thoroughly. The small amount of hot soup will warm up the cream, which, once added to the soup after mixing, will prevent it from curdling when added to the soup.
All done! Enjoy your super-warming, delicious vegetable soup with healthy barley groats!