My first taste of Rosół (Polish Chicken Soup) was on a cold and snowy March Saturday. I had just moved to Poznan. I had spent a good deal of time there in the first 18 months Ed had been working there, but now I was a full time resident. We woke up Saturday morning to a few inches of snow. Being from Arizona, I assumed this meant we would cancel all of our plans, stay home, watch the snow come down, and start drinking early in the day. That’s what it would mean in Tucson, on the rare occasions when we get snow, maybe once every 10 years.
Ed was quick to point out that life, and daily plans, went on, whether it snowed or not; we had snow tires after all. We made the short drive to IKEA for something and then caught the tram into town, he got his hair cut, we attended the free organ concert at Fara Church (properly called Parish Church of St. Stanislaus). The church was freezing. I think it was colder inside than outside. The cold wasn’t bad while we were walking around, but just sitting, I was starting to feel chilled to the bone.
After the concert, we walked through the Stary Rynek (Old Market) and stopped at one of our favorite restaurants for a bite to eat. Ed had already sampled their Rosół (pronounced ro soow) and recommended it highly. It seemed like a great way to warm up. When our waiter brought the soup, he told us that it was very popular for Sunday dinner in Poland when extended family might drop by. Soup does offer that advantage, you can also feed a few more.
The broth is rich with a beautiful deep color; it’s also very clear. A lot goes into making the complex broth, but only a few of the ingredients make it into the soup, a few chunks of chicken and a couple of carrot slices. It’s a elegant looking presentation. If you decide to add some noodles to the soup, they are cooked separately, added to the bowl and the soup ladled over. This keeps them noodle-like, they won’t swell up from sitting in the soup overnight or make the broth cloudy.
This may be the most involved simple dish you’ll ever make, but it’s just soup, so how hard can it be? The long list of ingredients gives you the wonderfully rich broth with multiple layers of flavor. Give it a try for Sunday dinner, you’ll be glad you did!
An elegant soup with a wonderfully complex broth
- 5 pound chicken (you might go with pieces rather than whole, but you want the bone in)
- 1 beef soup bone
- 3 turkey necks (I was pleasantly surprised to find a package of turkey necks at Sprouts)
- 2 large onions, root end trimmed and halved (leave the yellow skin on, it adds great color)
- 5 carrots, trimmed and peeled
- 2 parsnips, trimmed and peeled
- 1 leek, trimmed, use the white and light green part
- 1 small – medium celery root, peeled or 3 stalks celery
- 1/4 small savoy cabbage
- 1 whole clove
- 4 allspice berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 springs fresh flat leaf parsley
- 4 springs fresh dill, (optinal: plus some for garnish)
- 6 peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon salt (adjust amount to taste)
- thin noodles (optional)
- Add chicken, beef bone, and turkey necks to a large Dutch oven or stock pot
- Cover with water
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, skimming any impurities off the top to insure a clear broth
- If your pot is big enough, add the vegetables and spices for the last hour of the cooking time
- My Dutch oven wasn’t big enough to hold everything, just the chicken and other bones filled the pot, so I cooked the meat/bones for the full cooking time, then removed them, and cooked the vegetables and spices separately
- Strain everything out of the broth
- Bone the chicken, pulling the meat into large chunks
- Slice the carrots
- Return the chicken and carrots to the broth
- Cook noodles according to package instructions if you’re using them
- Add noodles to bowl and then top with hot soup