by McGonagirl & Hagrid
The Two Fat Saxon Witches made all manner of brews for whatever ailed you, but sometimes just because they were cold and hungry and wanted something substantial and comforting. It's not known where these witches came from, but this soup seems to have central European roots, with the sour-tasting base.
Truth be told, the Witches used a sourdough-type starter to create the soup, but making a starter could be tricky. For one, it took at least three days to make, so soupmaking could not be a spontaneous thing. For another, making an authentic starter required a clean environment so that when one left the jar of flour and water open, the yeasts critical to the process could be captured. In a place like London, one was likely to capture much more than yeasts!
So they developed a recipe which didn't require the starter, using the pickling liquid from sauerkraut (but not the sauerkraut itself), and cider vinegar. They shared this recipe with Olympe Maxime, and she used it several times when camping near the giants' settlement. It was so filling and warming that one large bowl was enough, even for Hagrid and his kid brother, Grawp.
In fact, Grawp's first words to Hagrid were in asking for more soup, "Barscht," he said. Since the soup was white in color, Hagrid called it white barscht.
Into the boiling pot of liquids, drop in the cubed potatoes and garlic and boil till the potatoes and garlic are softened. Turn off the heat, and purée the soup with a stick blender or regular blender or food processor. If you prefer, you can mash the potatoes with a potato masher it'll be much rougher in texture, of course.
If the soup is not thick enough, whisk in the flour/water slurry and bring the soup to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper (go heavy on the pepper). Return the kielbasa to the pot and add the whole potatoes, and heat till warmed through.
To serve, take a large bowl and ladle out kielbasa pieces or slices and a whole potato in the bottom of the bowl. Ladle out more soup, as much as fits comfortably, and top with a tablespoon dollop of sour cream, if desired. Also if desired, snip dill tips or chives over the top.
Makes 6 to 8 large servings.
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