If you’re like me, you’ve searched high and low for a good Solyanka recipe…

Hold on…

“What is Solyanka?” you ask?

Well, it is a delicious soup made up of a collection of unexpected ingredients.


Yes, that’s lemon. And an olive.

Like Italian tomato sauce, I think the key to a good solyanka is a variety of meats.  I finally found a good recipe for it, which I will now share with you.


1 lb. beef chuck, trimmed
8 oz. kielbasa sausage
4 oz. boneless ham steak
2 oz. hard salami
4 whole black peppercorns
3 whole allspice berries
1 bay leaf
4 oz. sliced bacon, minced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
¼ small head green cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 tbsp. tomato paste
1 (15-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
5 cups beef stock
1½ large dill pickles, chopped
1½ tbsp. capers, drained
¼ cup pitted black olives, sliced
1½ tbsp. sugar
½ lemon, thinly sliced
Chopped parsley, sliced scallions, and sour cream, for serving

1. Cut beef, kielbasa, ham, and salami into ¼” pieces; set aside. Place peppercorns, allspice, and bay on a piece of cheesecloth and tie into a tight package; set aside.  (Because of it’s abundance of uses, cheesecloth can be found in the craft section at Walmart.)

2. Heat bacon over medium-high heat in a 6-qt. saucepan; cook until crisp, 4–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a bowl; set aside. Add meats to pot; cook until browned, 6–8 minutes. Add onion, celery, cabbage, and salt and pepper; cook until soft, 4–6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook, until slightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. 

3. Return bacon to pot with spice package, tomatoes, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add pickles and capers; cook until beef is very tender, 40–45 minutes. 

4. Remove spice package. Stir in olives, sugar, lemon, and salt and pepper. Serve with parsley, scallions, and sour cream.

Adults and kids alike seem to love this soup.  Encourage people on the sour cream.  Like a lot of Ukrainian food, it tastes even better with some sour cream!

As Ben would say…”deeee-licious”!  Sort of like when we did some sensory play with cool whip…

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One thought on “Solyanka

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