Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Durankulak Fish Soup

Savor the taste of the Black Sea with the traditional Durankulak's Fish Soup, a soul-warming fish dish brimming with fresh vegetables, tender fish, and aromatic herbs for an unforgettable culinary experience.

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The Bulgarian fish soup (or Ribena Supa) from Durankulak is a hearty and flavorful dish showcasing various fresh vegetables and tender fish in a delectable broth. This traditional soup is enjoyed throughout the Shabla and Durankulak and is perfect for those seeking a comforting, nutritious, and delicious meal. There are many recipes for fish soups in Bulgaria. The Durankulak soup variety should be slightly thicker when served than the rest of the fish soups. Learn more about Durankulak and its unique place in European culture.

Preparation time: Approximately 20 minutes, plus 40 minutes of cooking time

Ingredients (for four people)

  • 600g fish heads / fillets (such as carp, catfish, gobbies, or another firm white fish); if you don’t have a fish from the Durankulak lake – use any variety of small white fish that is locally available
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, chopped (approximately 180g)
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, cubed (approximately 300g)
  • 1 small celery root, chopped (approximately 150g)
  • 1 large onion, sliced (approximately 120g)
  • 4 small tomatoes, chopped (approximately 200g)
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into strips (approximately 200g)
  • 1.5 liters of water or fish stock
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh celery leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cow parsnip/hogweed (or substitute with fresh dill) – the variety that grows by the Durankulak Lake (Gyolski devesil) brings the traditional local taste to the soup

Method to prepare

  1. In a large pot, heat the sunflower oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, carrots, celery root, and bell peppers. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add the cubed potatoes and chopped tomatoes to the pot, stirring well to combine with the other vegetables.
  3. Pour in the water or fish stock, then season with black pepper and salt to taste. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Stir in the chopped parsley, celery leaves, and cow parsnip (or fresh dill). Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  5. Gently add the fish heads/ fillets into a cheesecloth, and add them to the soup, submerging them in the liquid. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked and flakes easily with a fork.
  6. Clean the fish meat and return it to the soup.
  7. Optional, and only to add more thickness: Mix yolk, Bulgarian yogurt, and a spoonful of flour in a small bowl. When well mixed, add to the boiling soup, and boil for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Remove the soup from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Serve hot, garnished with additional fresh herbs if desired.

Tips and Tricks

  • You can use a variety of fish for this soup, but gobbies and fish from Durankulak Lake are preferred. As a rule, use 2-3 fish varieties.
  • If you prefer a thicker soup, mash some cooked potatoes and stir them back into the broth.
  • Be careful not to overcook the fish, as it can fall apart in the soup.

Storage Suggestions

The Durankulak Fish Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, place the soup in a saucepan and gently warm over low heat until heated. It is not recommended to freeze this soup, as the fish and vegetables may become overly soft when thawed and reheated.

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