While many recipes are sweet, savory, spicy, or creamy, this German Solyanka soup has a hearty, savory, tad bit spicy, and wee bit sour flavor profile that makes it an incredibly comforting, satisfying experience. Solyanka’s origins are Eastern European, but it’s now enjoyed worldwide and a very healthy, hearty soup that makes the perfect dinner on a cold day.
This comforting German soup has its origins in Russian Solyanka (also spelled soljanka), which is a wildly popular traditional soup in Eastern European countries.
It found its way to Germany during the Soviet era under Russian occupation and while the troops eventually pulled out of Eastern Germany and that sad era came to a thankful end, its delicious culinary influence had left its mark.
Some believe that its name originated in Ukraine about 500 years ago, coming from the Slavic word for “salt.” Solyanka was originally made from using a variety of whatever smoked meats, fresh vegetables, and brined/pickled vegetables were on hand.
Today it is a rich, hearty soup still using a variety of meat and bell peppers and following a very simple recipe.
Because of the protein, vegetables, and hearty flavors used, this German Solyanka recipe will keep you full all day long. It’s a simple soup to make and cooks up quickly, making it a great option for a filling lunch or dinner.
Ingredients In German Solyanka
Like many healthy, rich winter soups, Solyanka uses tomato paste, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and traditional spices for a rich and comforting flavor.
However, German Solyanka (soljanka) gets its unique taste from the presence of pickle juice, mustard, and the trio of smoked meats that are not commonly found in other hearty soups.
If you want to be completely authentic or if German grocery stores are available in your area, find meats that are typically used in German Solyanka. Some of them are Jagdwurst, Speck, Fleischwurst or Geflügelwurst.
In the area where I live, German groceries are nowhere to be found so I substituted traditional German cold cuts with chopped bacon, salami, and bologna, which I think are quite similar to the ones present in classic Soljanka.
Tips For Making Hearty Winter Soup
This is a super simple soup recipe that comes together in about half an hour. However, there are a couple of things to pay attention to you as you make your German Solyanka.
Making Solyanka With Pickle Juice
If you’ve never cooked with pickle juice, this might seem odd to you. However, it adds such a great flavor!
Before adding it to the pot, you’ll want to take a small sip and make sure it doesn’t have too much of a vinegar flavor to it. If you feel the flavor might be too strong, simply use less of the juice and even the pickles themselves.
Also, adding it at the end will reduce its impact on the overall flavor since it won’t have as long to cook in.
Cooking The Meat For Your Winter Soup
Instead of cooking the meat in a skillet and then adding it to your soup pot, just cook it right in the bottom of your stock pot. This gives more flavor as you build out your Solyanka.
You’ll start with the chopped bacon first, and cook it until crispy. Then add in the bologna and salami, stirring them into the fat that’s in the bottom. Then dump in the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low heat for about 20-minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and then serve.
A dollop of sour cream is the perfect topping to this tart and savory soup, adding a bit of creamy goodness as it mixes in.
More Yummy Filling Soups
If you make this German Soljanka recipe, take a picture and post it on Instagram with a hashtag #lavenderandmacarons.
German Solyanka Recipe
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- 7 oz Salami chopped
- 7 oz Bologna chopped
- 4 oz bacon slab chopped
- 1 medium onion quartered and thinly sliced
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 2 large bell peppers thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp pickle juice See the notes
- 1/2 c pickles chopped
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 1/2 c chicken broth
- 4 tbsp sour cream for serving
- salt, pepper to taste
- To a large pot add bacon and cook on a medium heat until slightly crispy, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook on a medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
- Adjust salt and pepper and serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream.