Dinner/ polish/ soups

Rosół recipe (Polish chicken soup)

15 March 2021

Imagine a meat broth so good that you eat it on its own! This is rosół, the queen of Polish soups and one of the most iconic Polish dishes! It’s rich and meaty, served with thin egg noodles, and so comforting! According to every Polish grandma, it’s a cure for the cold.

Rosol in a white and blue bowl served with thin pasta.

Polish chicken soup

This soup is usually served for Sunday dinner and it’s also very often served for important gatherings like wedding or christening.

It took me quite some time to develop this recipe. I wasn’t a fan of this soup growing up so it was a challenge!

Poles have pretty strong opinions about this soup. I have never seen such heated discussions on Polish cooking forums like those mentioning rosół. Under every posted photo with a pot of rosół, you’ll see at least 1000 comments from angry (hangry?) Poles discussing what should you add (or what shouldn’t you add) to the sacred rosół soup..

So I went on a quest to find the best possible rosół recipe. But if it’s not how your grandma made it, please don’t yell at me!

Ingredients:

Here’s what you’ll need to make the rosół soup:

Labeled ingredients needed to make rosol soup.

Meat

Chicken rosół (rosół z kurczaka)

The most popular is rosół made of chicken meat. I’m using whole chicken without the breasts. Chicken breast meat is very lean meat that doesn’t have lots of flavor on its own so it’s best to use it for other recipes. Additionally, I’m using other chicken parts that are great for a soup like chicken neck, carcass, breast bones, wings, giblets. This is actually sold in my grocery store as ‘chicken parts for a soup’ so check in your store if they have that or ask your butcher. These parts of the chicken have great flavor because there’s lots of bones, bone marrow, collagen, and skin which give great flavor, they are also super cheap! Another good thing is you won’t have as much leftover meat to use up. You can of course just use chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken but it MUST be chicken on the bone. You can also use turkey neck and wings – they are also a popular addition to this soup.

 People living in the country are often using a stewing hen to make this soup.

There are also other kinds of rosół, like:

  • Chicken and beef rosół: use whole chicken minus the breasts + about 1 lb (450g) beef meat. Beef adds great flavor and results in richer-tasting rosół.
  • 3 types of meat rosół – chicken, beef, and duck/goose – like above + leg of duck/goose. Three different types of meat make a great rosół! Unfortunately, it’s more on the pricey side.
  • Beef rosół (rosół wołowy) – it’s made with just beef. It’s my least favorite kind but if you are a beef fan, I’m sure you’ll love it!
  • Duck rosół (rosół z kaczki) – made with just duck meat. Super delicious but very pricey.

How to choose beef meat: I go with 3/4 of meat to 1/4 bones ratio. Don’t use very fatty pieces or your soup will be unpleasantly fatty. They also shouldn’t be too lean. Parts of beef that are great for beef rosół: Chuck roast, flank steak, brisket, beef short ribs.

GENERAL RULE: I’m using about 4.5 pounds (2kg) of meat per 3 quarts (3 liters) of water. You can of course use less meat, but the flavor of the soup will be milder.

Vegetables

Vegetables used for Polish soups are sold in a ‘bundle’ and are called “włoszczyzna”. The bundle includes:

  • carrots
  • parsley root and leaves
  • celeriac (note that celeriac is added to Polish soups and not celery!)
  • leek
  • onion

Herbs & spices

  • Parsley leaves – just a couple of twigs, don’t add too much or the soup can have a green-ish hue.
  • Lovage – this is an amazing herb that lends a great flavor to the soup. It’s also called a ‘Maggi herb’ – it smells exactly the same as the Maggi seasoning. I always added this seasoning to my soup when I was a child and before I knew better! Maggi seasoning is an artificial food flavor enhancer that has umami-rich, soy sauce-like flavor. If you can’t find fresh lovage you can just omit it.
  • Spices: bay leaves, allspice berries, black peppercorns (add only whole peppercorns and not ground pepper, whole peppercorns will give the soup peppery flavor without making it cloudy, ground pepper is on served with the soup and put on the table so that everyone can add as much as they want).
  • Dried mushrooms: just 1-2 small pieces – optional. They add some flavor and improve the color of the soup.

What is the difference between rosół and regular chicken broth?

  • The water to meat ratio – more meat is added for the same amount of water when making chicken soup (it has a richer flavor).
  • The cooking time – rosół is being cooked much longer to develop a rich flavor.
  • Chicken broth has a much milder flavor and should be used as a base for other dishes while the chicken soup is so good that it’s being eaten on its own!

Step by step instructions:

Herbs and spices in a pot. Chicken meat in a pot.

STEP 1: First cut up the chicken into individual pieces, you won’t need the breasts for this recipe. Next, clean the meat – this step is optional but it makes the soup less cloudy. The best way to do it is to pour water into a large pot, add the meat, clean it thoroughly from all the blood residues and debris, then carefully discard the water, leaving the meat in the pot.

STEP 2: Add herbs and spices to the pot, but they should be under the meat (otherwise they float the surface and make skimming of the ‘scum’ harder).

Vegetables for the soup on a plate. Chicken pieces and vegetables in a pot.

STEP 3: Prepare the vegetables: peel the carrots, celery root, and celeriac, cut in half. Peel the onion and burn it over a flame or place cut-side down in a dry pan and cook until dark brown/black. Cut off the dark green part of the leek, use only the white and light green part, cut in half, clean thoroughly.

STEP 4: Add the vegetables to the pot.

Water is being added to a pot. Foam on top of the broth is being scooped with a sieve.

STEP 5: Add COLD water to the pot. There should be about 2 inches (4-5 cm) of water above the meat and vegetables.

When you add cold water, all the flavor from the meat goes to the water. When browning the chicken or using hot water, the flavor stays in the meat. We want all the flavor in the soup here! The leftover meat is pretty tasteless!

STEP 6: Bring the soup to a gentle boil over medium heat. When it comes to the boil reduce the heat immediately and cook uncovered over minimum heat for 6 hours (or a minimum of 3 hours). Do not add salt to the soup (we’re salting the soup at the end). It’s super important that the soup is only SIMMERING – this means you should see a couple of small bubbles on the surface of the water. The soup shouldn’t boil because it will make it cloudy. If you’ve noticed that your soup is boiling it will be cloudy but after some cooking time, it should be clear again.

Why 6 hours?

Yes, this is not a typo! Cooking time is what distinguishes this soup from mediocre chicken soup from my childhood (that’s why I didn’t like it!) and from regular chicken broth. Some people cook this soup even longer, for up to 12 hours. When I was cooking this soup I took a small sample of it every hour, then when the soup was ready I heated and salted all the samples and tried it with my taste-tasters (we’ve tried the soup after 2h, 3h, 4h, 5h, and 6h). Everyone has said that the 6-hour soup was absolutely best and the 2h and 3h-soup are pretty tasteless. The downside of such a long cooking time is that the meat is pretty dry and completely tasteless, but in this recipe, the soup is what’s the most important!

When the soup comes to a boil you will see foam form on the surface. This is just coagulated protein and doesn’t affect the flavor of the soup but it can make it cloudy so I skim it with a small sieve or a spoon. Skim just the biggest pieces of scum and foam, you don’t have to do it very thoroughly. Repeat this a couple of times while the soup is simmering.

Note about cooking the soup with beef: after side-by-side testing of each sample, we’ve come to the conclusion that rosół with beef is a little bit sour when cooked that long, we liked the most the 4-hour soup.

STEP 7: When the time is up, carefully remove any scum and foam that is on the surface of the soup, then strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the vegetables. When the meat is cool enough to handle, pull it off the bones and tear it into shreds with your fingers.

Season the soup with salt to taste. Place some pasta in bowls and pour in the soup. Season the soup with ground black pepper to taste and enjoy!

How to serve it

  • angel hair pasta (cooked separately al dente) and ground black pepper are a must for me
  • many people also serve this soup with shredded chicken meat and sliced carrots from the soup (I don’t care for them)
  • chopped parsley adds a pop of color

The perfect rosół should be:

  • Clear – this means it should not be cloudy and there shouldn’t be any small pieces of meat in it. How to achieve that: rosół should be simmering and not boiling. This is just for esthetic reasons, this doesn’t impact flavor!
  • It should have a deep golden color. How to achieve that: some people add unpeeled onion to their soup, I add 1-2 small pieces of dried mushrooms which lends color to the soup. Beef will also add amazing color to the soup.
  • It should have a deep, meaty flavor – this is achieved by a high meat-to-water ratio and long cooking time.

Storage and freezing

The quickest way to cool the soup: fill your kitchen sink with cold water and place the pot with soup in the water, change the water every 20-30 minutes until the soup is cool. Store the soup in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Cold soup will turn into jelly – this is how it supposed to be! It will be liquid again when you warm it up.

You can freeze it for up to 6 months. I usually freeze it in jars. Remember not to fill the jar to the full – frozen liquid increases its volume, so fill the jars about 3/4 full.

What to do with leftover rosół

Traditionally, rosół soup is served on Sunday, and then on Monday, you make tomato soup based on leftovers! Polish tomato soup (zupa pomidorowa) is simple to make. All you have to do is combine rosół or chicken broth with tomato passata and some heavy cream, season with salt and pepper and serve with pasta or rice.

Other that that, just treat rosół like a chicken broth and add it to any soup or sauce recipe that calls for chicken broth. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays – it’s easy to portion and add to sauces.

What to do with leftover meat

  • Most Polish people make meat pierogi with leftover rosół meat. I’ve tried to make them multiple times using different Polish recipes but they always lack flavor for me (I think it’s best to make them with roasted meat and not boiled meat that has no flavor anymore). Another popular dish are potato dumplings filled with meat (pyzy z mięsem). This leftover meat is also used as a filling for krokiety.
  • Serve the shredded meat with the soup (I don’t like to do that but many people do!).
  • My personal favorite recipe is this leftover chicken dip (I will publish the recipe soon)! I make it every time with the chicken meat leftover from rosół or just homemade chicken broth. Flavorless chicken meat is combined with sun-dried tomatoes, cream cheese, parmesan, and spices which makes an amazing dip/spread!
  • You can use the meat in any recipe that calls for leftover chicken/rotisserie chicken, for example: chicken a la king, pasta casserole like this chicken pesto bake, soups, white chicken chili, chicken pot pie. Make sure to use a recipe where there’s a lot of sauce because chicken that has been cooked for 6 hours is very dry (that’s why I love to make the spread/dip!).
Two bowl with rosol soup served with pasta.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Rosół recipe (Polish chicken soup)

Imagine a meat broth so good that you eat it on its own! This is rosół, the queen of Polish soups and one of the most iconic Polish dishes! It’s rich and meaty, served with thin egg noodles, and so comforting!
Pin This Recipe! SAVE THIS RECIPE
Rosół soup in a white blue bowl served with pasta and topped with parsley.
Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings (8 cups)
Calories 51kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken about 3 1/2 lbs (1.6kg)
  • 1 pound cheap chicken or turkey pieces like necks, giblets, carcass, wings, drumsticks
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1/2 leek
  • a piece of celeriac
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 20 black peppercorns do not substitute ground pepper
  • 1-2 small pieces dried mushrooms optional
  • a couple of twigs parsley
  • a couple of twigs lovage optional
  • 12 cups water 3 liters
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • First cut up the chicken into individual pieces, you won’t need the breasts for this recipe. Next, clean the meat – this step is optional but it makes the soup less cloudy. The best way to do it is to pour water into a large pot, add the meat, clean it thoroughly from all the blood residues and debris, then carefully discard the water, leaving the meat in the pot.
  • Add herbs and spices to the pot, but they should be under the meat (otherwise they float the surface and make skimming of the ‘scum’ harder).
  • Prepare the vegetables: peel the carrots, celery root, and celeriac, cut in half. Peel the onion and burn it over a flame or place cut-side down in a dry pan and cook until dark brown/black. Cut off the dark green part of the leek, use only the white and light green part, cut in half, clean thoroughly.
  • Add the vegetables to the pot.
  • Add cold water to the pot. There should be about 2 inches (4-5 cm) of water above the meat and vegetables.
  • Bring the soup to a gentle boil over medium heat. When it comes to the boil reduce the heat immediately and cook uncovered over minimum heat for 6 hours (or a minimum of 3 hours, if cooking the soup with beef I recommend cooking it for 4 hours, not 6 hours). Do not add salt to the soup (we’re salting the soup at the end). It’s super important that the soup is only SIMMERING – this means you should see a couple of small bubbles on the surface of the water. The soup shouldn’t boil because it will make it cloudy. If you’ve noticed that your soup is boiling it will be cloudy but after some cooking time, it should be clear again.
  • When the soup comes to a boil you will see foam form on the surface. This is just coagulated protein and doesn’t affect the flavor of the soup but it can make it cloudy so I skim it with a small sieve or a spoon. Skim just the biggest pieces of scum and foam, you don’t have to do it very thoroughly. Repeat this a couple of times while the soup is simmering.
  • When the time is up, carefully remove any scum and foam that is on the surface of the soup, then strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the vegetables. When the meat is cool enough to handle, pull it off the bones and tear it into shreds with your fingers.
  • Season the soup with salt to taste. Place some pasta in bowls and pour in the soup. Season the soup with ground black pepper to taste and enjoy!

Notes

  • How to serve this soup: angel hair pasta (cooked separately al dente) and ground black pepper are a must for me, shredded chicken meat and sliced carrots from the soup (optional), chopped parsley (optional). You will need about 1 lb (450g) pasta for this recipe.
  • Add different meat: 
    • chicken and beef – add a whole chicken + 1 lb (450g) beef
    • 3 kinds of meat rosół – add a whole chicken + 1 lb (450g) beef + 1 leg of duck/goose (trim the extra fat)
    • use just beef
    • use just duck meat
  • Storage:
    • The quickest way to cool the soup: fill your kitchen sink with cold water and place the pot with soup in the water, change the water every 20-30 minutes until the soup is cool. Store the soup in the fridge for up to 5 days.
    • Cold soup will turn into jelly – this is how it supposed to be! It will be liquid again when you warm it up.
    • You can freeze it for up to 6 months. I usually freeze it in jars. Remember not to fill the jar to the full – frozen liquid increases its volume, so fill the jars about 3/4 full. I also like to freeze it in ice cube trays – it’s easy to portion and add to sauces.
  • What to do with leftover rosół: make Polish tomato soup: combine rosół or chicken broth with tomato passata and some heavy cream, season with salt and pepper and serve with pasta or rice. You can also treat it like regular chicken broth and add it to various soups and sauces.
  • What to do with leftover meat: you can serve it with the soup, add it to casseroles, various soups and stews, chicken chili, make chicken a la king or chicken pot pie, or my favorite leftover chicken dip/spread.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/6 of the recipe), without the pasta. This is only an estimate!
Course Soup
Cuisine polish
Keyword chicken noodle soup, polish chicken soupP, rosol recipe

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