I don’t know an Estonian, who doesn’t like solyanka. Usually it’s a thick Russian meat soup, but we also make it with mushrooms. My mom even makes preserved mushroom solyanka. So in the winter time, you just need to add some water, boil it and voila – you have a hearty homemade soup in minutes. What’s not to love about this kind of soup? It’s just thick enough, a little bit sour and really comforting. If you are not a fan of the mushrooms, leave them out. Or you can replace them with different vegan meats and sausage chunks. I always add some olives and some lemon slices too.
Almost every tavern and diner in Estonia has a solyanka in the menu. Some people love it as a hangover food and they also sell it at the open air events. The quality varies (if I remember correctly, I haven’t eaten meat solyanka in nine years). When my friend Anna came to visit and tasted my version, she said it was so good and actually tasted like solyanka, not like the version she ate a few days ago in some cafe. Also, my boyfriend really loved this. Since the cold season here continues, this kind of soup makes a perfect cozy lunch or dinner. I like to serve it with some homemade sunflower sour cream and fresh spring onions. Perfection in a bowl!
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 – 6 people
- 3 Tbsp oil
- 4 medium onions
- 2 ½ cups / 200 g chopped white mushrooms or other edible mushrooms
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 heaping tsp paprika powder
- 6 cups / 1L + 400 ml boiling water
- 3 medium potatoes
- 3 large pickles
- 3 Tbsp black olives (pitted)
- 3 Tbsp green olives (pitted)
- 5 Tbsp tomato sauce
- 1 slice of lemon, cut into four
- 2 – 2 ¼ tsp salt
- (fresh parsley and/or spring onions for serving)
Heat up a thick-bottomed pot. Add oil, sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add chopped white mushrooms, chopped garlic, bay leaves, ground black pepper and paprika powder. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Add sliced potatoes and boil another 5 minutes. Add chopped pickles, olives, tomato sauce, lemon pieces and salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Serve with chopped fresh parsley and/or spring onions and sunflower sour cream, if you like.