A few months ago, I blogged a recipe for Beef Borscht and I spoke about the controversies of writing down traditional Russian recipes. The reality is that tradition varies from region to region and also family to family. I often get emails and comments on my most popular blogged dishes (Lamb Plov, Lemon Ricotta Syrniki and Pelmeni) indicating that while my recipe was yummy, this is *not* how their mother/grandmother/aunt made the dish. I have a feeling that I’m going to receive similar reaction to this soup recipe.
When my mama made Solyanka, it kind of felt like she was taking all of these random orphan ingredients and pulling them together into a salty, soupy goodness. So while I write specific ingredients for this recipe, know that it’s very flexible. If you don’t like lamb and prefer beff, swap it out. If you have leftover cold cuts or sausage, throw them in! Everything will stand to boost the flavor of this forgiving soup.
Everyone into the pot!
Solyanka is often enjoyed with vodka 🙂
Lightly garnished with dill, this Solyanka is delicious!
Lamb Solyanka (Солянка из баранины)
Makes 12-16 bowls of soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 boneless leg of lamb (about 3.5 pounds) cut into bite size pieces
2 Spanish onions, diced
3 large carrots, shredded
3 celery stalks, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can of pureed tomatoes
1 package all beef uncured hot dogs, cut into coins
6 ounces pitted black olives, halved
1 24oz jar Trader Joe’s Dill Pickles (or any other variety) dice pickles, reserve pickle juice
4 “cans” of water (I’ll explain later)
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1. In a large heavy bottomed pot (7.25 quart), on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Working in batches, sear lamb pieces adding a bit of salt and pepper to each batch. Don’t cook through. Remove lamb pieces and any juices. Set aside and repeat with remaining lamb.
2. After all of the lamb has been cooked and set aside (along with all of the rendered lamb juice), wipe the pot “clean” with a paper towel and add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Heat for a few minutes and add the diced onion, shredded carrots and finely diced celery. Saute for 7-10 minutes, on medium heat, until onions are translucent.
4. Add the meat and rendered juices back to the pot. Stir to combine.
5. Everyone else into the pot! Diced pickles, half of the pickle juice, hot dog coins, halved olives, and tomato puree.
6. Using the can from the tomato puree, add 4 cans of water to the pot. This will be about 14 cups of water.
7. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer. Let simmer for at least an hour.
8. Taste. It should be a little briny without being overpowering. If necessary, add remaining pickle juice, some kosher salt or freshly ground pepper.
Cooks note: The soup tastes best after it’s been cooled and reheated… so go ahead and enjoy it tomorrow for dinner!
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!