Flavours inspired by Croatia

Zagorje Potato Soup

by Pervin Todiwala

Originating in the northern Croatian region of Zagorje, it was considered a peasant’s dish, basic and hearty. Today it has gained popularity as a gourmet soup given its blend of old and new ingredients. I have put my own touch to it and tweaked it for global taste buds. As they say in Croatian, “Dobar tek”!

Ingredients

Onion – 1  medium

Bacon or pancetta (or speck ham if you have it) - 100gms (omit for vegetarians)

200 gms mushrooms (for a different flavour, use a variety of seasonal mushrooms)

Potatoes – 2 medium

Carrot – 1 medium

Celery -1 stick

Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp

Bay leaf -1

White wine – 100ml- optional

Sugar – 1 tsp

Tomato concentrate – 1 Tblsp

Sour cream – 100 ml

Flour – 1 Tblsp

Paprika – 2 tsp

Chicken Stock (Can use Vegetable Stock)

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional

1 cup cooked orzo or barley.

Save some diced potatoes, fry them till lightly crisp for a topping

Serve the soup in a bread bowl with an array of toppings: spring onions, toasted walnuts, masala croutons (warm olive oil or butter, add a pinch of chilli or paprika  powder and brush this on croutons before toasting), crispy fried green onion/carrot/zucchini noodles

Creating your masterpiece

Dice the onions, carrot, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, and bacon into equal sized pieces.

Sweat the bacon with a little olive oil and then add cumin seeds & chopped onions.

Stir till the onions soften and then add the diced carrot, celery, potato & mushrooms  and fry all together.

Add the bay leaf, paprika and keep frying.

Add the sugar stir and then add the wine . Reduce the wine until the smell of alcohol disappears.

Add the tomato concentrate and stir till well mixed.

Pour chicken stock or water into the pot, just covering all the ingredients.

Close the pan for about 15 minutes approximately till the potatoes & carrots are cooked.

Stir in salt, pepper and then let it cook for another 5 minutes.

Mix sour cream and flour in a bit of cold water to make a slurry and gently stir it into to the soup. Cook for another 6 – 7 minutes

Eat it with chunks of bread or seasoned pasta.  Makes for a hearty meal