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Recipe tip: Solyanka
A hearty, warm soup is particularly popular in cooler temperatures. On the anniversary of 30 years of reunification in Germany, we present you with one of the most popular stews in GDR gastronomy: the Soljanka. The hearty tomato soup consisting of meat and sausage with sauerkraut as garnish is still very popular in the East of the republic, and in many Eastern European countries it is hard to imagine a kitchen without it.
 The Soljanka is a typical rural dish. In the Russian language it was first called "Seljanka" until the end of the 19th century, derived from the Russian word for "from the country" or "village." The name changed to "Soljanka", because numerous salt products ("sol" = "salt") were introduced. So the main ingredients of the hearty stew are products grown in the field or garden, as well as meat.
This also suited the life in the GDR at that time, because getting exotic ingredients was anything but easy there. The classic Soljanka is prepared with various types of meat and sausages. But there are also variations as fish or mushroom solyanka. What they all have in common is a slightly sour taste, which is created by adding vinegar, pickles or lemons.
Here is the recipe for a classic sausage-solyanka:

Ingredients:

  •  2 onions
  • 150 g bacon
  • 250 g pork neck or cooked ham
  • 150 g hunting sausage
  • 100 g sliced salami
  • 50 g tomato paste
  • 400 ml strained tomatoes or Letscho
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon paprika powder (sweet)
  • 6 pickles and some (approx. 50 ml) cucumber water from the glass
  • 1/2 l (meat) broth 
  • 1 tbsp. butter (or oil)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 organic lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • caraway, chilli and mustard seed to taste
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream to serve
 

Method:

 
  1. Peel and dice the onions andchop the garlic. Dice bacon and smoked pork/ham, cut hunting sausage and salami into strips. Dice the cucumbers. Wash the lemon thoroughly and then cut into slices.

  2. Heat the butter in a pot, fry the onions and garlic until they look translucent. Then add the tomato paste and fry briefly. Then fry the bacon, smoked ham and sausage. Add the strained tomatoes.

  3.  Add the meat stock and some pickle water and simmer until the meat is cooked.  Season with salt and pepper; add the paprika powder and spices to taste.

  4. Remove the pot from the heat and add the pickles to the soup. Leave to infuse briefly.

  5. To serve add a dollop of sour cream and a slice of lemon. As a side dish, rustic farmhouse bread is delicious.