Improvisation On Polish Bean Soup {Zupa Fasolowa}


I can’t even remember how I came to want to make Polish bean soup, it was likely reading about it in a novel, which is often what inspires me to try something. As it happens, a friend’s friend is Polish, so I asked him for a recipe. I had looked online, of course, but I prefer getting recipes from people I know, especially if they’re natives. The friend said his mother’s recipe was basically the same I found online, but he wrote it down for me nevertheless.

Now, I’m not claiming this is the exact recipe the friend gave me, because as you can see in the title, I improvised a little.

The original recipe requires soaking the white broad beans overnight, but I admit to never doing that as I prefer using canned beans. A 24 hour waiting/soaking time is not something I have patience for. Our local supermarket has excellent canned white broad beans, whenever I use them I sneak a few right out of the can. In addition to the white beans I added some cannellini beans, also canned.

I love soups with sausages, and for this one I used two different local sausage types, one larger and one smaller but both the soft type, not smoked. I also like potatoes in soups, so I added a few small ones to this soup.

I really loved how this soup turned out, especially for an improvised version! I was trying to determine what was responsible for the unique taste that I hadn’t known before, and I think it’s the mix of spices together with the smoked bacon.

This was really worth making, especially as it doesn’t take very long if canned beans are used. I added the liquid of both bean types to the soup, which I believe gave it some extra flavour and thickening.

As usual, I served my soup with a little sour cream on top – just because 🙂 . I already know I’ll be making this soup often this season – it’s the epitome of comfort food to me.

Improvisation On Polish Bean Soup {Zupa Fasolowa}

  • Servings: 3 - 4 as starter / 2 as main
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1 small can broad white beans
1 small can cannellini beans
1 tsp dried marjoram
3 bay leaves
4 – 5 allspice berries
oil for frying
2 medium-sized onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
300 g sliced sausage
100 g lean smoked bacon slices
6 small potatoes
50 g tomato paste
sour cream [optional]
chopped fresh parsley [optional]

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place potatoes, beans and their liquid in a pot, add water so everything is well covered, then add the spices. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes until the potatoes are nearly done. Keep on simmering on lower heat and prepare the sausages in the meantime.

Dice the smoked bacon slices, then slice the sausages. Heat oil in a frying pan.

Sauté the onions and the garlic [I chop mine in a mini blender so both are quite finely chopped], then add the bacon and sausages and fry until slightly browned. Add all this to the bean soup, including the juices from the pan [I use a spatula to really get everything from the pan into the soup pot] and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Stir the tomato paste [I use a tomato & paprika paste, which gives it a different note] into the bean soup, season with salt and pepper and bring back to the boil, then take off the heat.

Serve topped with sour cream and chopped parsley.