Zupa pomidorowa translates from Polish as tomato soup. Yet Polish tomato soup is not just tomato soup. It’s so much more. Pomidorowa soup is so nuanced. There’s a whole array of flavours that are added to make the tomatoes really shine in this symphony of sweet and sour. Make it with canned tomatoes and enjoy a soup for all the times of the year.
The culinary tradition of Poland is rich in soups. As a kid I did not always love all of them. Being brought up in Italy, soup to me was an explosion of fresh produce straight from the vegetable garden (think minestrone!). Polish soup on the other hand took me some effort to appreciate. The presence of peculiar ingredients such as fermented flour, boiled eggs, spiced sausages or sauerkraut requires a little bit of an acquired taste to fully appreciate. Growing up I loved very few Polish soups, actually. But pomidorowa was always my favourite. It has such a unique flavour, different from any other soup I knew.
A good zupa pomidorowa has a complex flavour that goes beyond just tomatoes. It has a round sweet and sour palate. While this soup can easily be made vegetarian using a vegetable broth, the original recipe calls for chicken stock. The chicken flavour really contributes to tone up the overall profile, giving zupa pomidorowa a lovely edge.
Original recipes also call for fresh tomatoes. When in season, this is of course an option. Still, I remember that my grandma made large use of canned tomatoes. And that’s what I’m using in this pomidorowa recipe. Unless you are in a country that grows really tasty tomatoes, I wouldn’t condemn choosing canned over fresh. Tomatoes that end up canned are picked at their ripest and usually come from regions where they are grown extensively and in the best climate, like southern Italy. They are delicious and you don’t need to add any tomato paste to up the tomato flavour.
Try also my fresh tomato pasta with balsamico onion!
Zupa pomidorowa ingredients
Despite being quite a simple, single-vegetable soup, pomidorowa has a fairly lengthy ingredient list. Most of them are flavourings and herbs, that all contribute to create that unique balance between sweet and sour. Here’s what we are using in this pomidorowa recipe:
- Canned crushed tomatoes
- Chicken broth
- Olive oil
- Red onion
- Balsamico vinegar
- Black pepper
- Dried thyme
- Dried basil
- Brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Crème fraîche (sour cream)
How to make Polish tomato soup
- Heat the oil in a pot. Mince the red onion and the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sautée on medium-high heat 5-6 minutes, until soft. Pour in the Balsamico vinegar and evaporate.
- Add the canned tomatoes to the pot, as well as the salt, brown sugar, dried thyme, dried basil and black pepper. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Remove the pot from the heat and blend the soup using an immersion blender. Pomidorowa is a smooth blended soup, so we want to make sure to remove any chunky bits by giving it a good blend.
- Return the soup to the heat and add the chicken stock and the apple cider vinegar. Simmer on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. The soup is ready to be served, or it can be chilled to room temperature and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Pomidorowa serving suggestions
A small amount of cream is added to the soup, but feel free to add more cream according to taste when serving the soup. I personally love adding more cream for 2 reasons. First of all, I really like having more cream for the overall flavour. Secondly, the addition of the cold cream lowers the soup temperature just enough to bring it to what, to me, is optimal serving temperature.
Pomidorowa tastes greatest when not piping hot but slightly cooled. A somewhat lower temperature really helps you to fully taste all the flavours in the soup, the sweetness and the sourness.
The kind of tomatoes used plays a key role in the overall flavour of the finished dish. As I have stressed zupa pomidorowa should really have a great balance between sour and sweet. This is why we are adding brown sugar, as well as vinegar. But a higher level of acidity in your tomatoes may eventually throw your soup off-balance.
Polish dessert? Honey cake with semlina buttercream!
If you feel like your zupa pomidorowa is too acidic for your taste, you have 2 possible workarounds. One solution would be to stir in more brown sugar. Alternatively, what you can do is to skip the sour cream (crème fraîche) and sub it with whipping cream. This way you would still be whitening (and fattening) your soup with cream, but without incorporating the acidic element. This is what my mom used to do to make my serving of zupa pomidorowa more pleasant to my not-so-used-to-acidic-food palate.
Calling all tomato lovers!
If you are a big lover of all things tomato, here are some more recipes to enjoy where tomatoes are the true stars of the show:
- Fresh tomato pasta with balsamico onion
- Mini tomato tarts on puff pastry
- Ragù bolognese: meat and tomato sauce
- Creamy pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes
- Zesty sundried tomato pesto
- Garlic salsa dip with canned tomato
Do you like tomato soup? Have you ever tried the Polish version of it? Pin my zupa pomidorowa recipe so you can make it soon!
Polish tomato soup Pomidorowa is a lovely single-vegetable soup that has a fantastic sweet and sour flavour.
- 800 g canned tomatoes crushed
- 300 ml chicken stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion medium
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp Balsamico vinegar
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 3/4 tsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp creme fraiche (sour cream)
- black pepper (freshly cracked)
Heat the oil in a pot. Mince the red onion and the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sautée on medium-high heat 5-6 minutes, until soft.
Pour in the Balsamico vinegar and evaporate.
Add the canned tomatoes, salt, brown sugar, dried thyme, dried basil and black pepper. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Remove the pot from the heat and blend the soup using an immersion blender.
Return the soup to the heat and add the chicken stock and the apple cider vinegar. Simmer on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.
Serve the soup with extra sour cream to add to taste.
This recipe was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated in August 2020 with new pictures, better wording and a recipe card.