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Wodzionka is a soup originating from the central European country of Poland that is based on stale bread. The name of the dish means water soup. Wodzionka is also known as brotzupa, which is formed from brot, the German word for bread, and zupa, the Polish word for soup. Wodzionka is commonly served during the autumn and winter seasons, and it is particularly favored for its simple preparation and light content.
The stale bread that is the main ingredient of wodzionka must be left to become dry and leathery for a period of up to three days. Then water is poured in a pot and set on high heat. When the water is boiling, the bread, cut into pieces, is thrown into the pot with lard and mixed.
Ingredients such as bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper are added to season the dish. Fried bacon, fried potatoes or other types of additions can also be thrown in to make the wodzionka more elaborate. Some people prefer to substitute butter for lard when cooking the soup.
This bread-based soup originated in historical Upper Silesia. Generally, Silesia also covers Germany and the Czech Republic, but about 90 percent of this historical central European region is in Poland. Silesia is known for harboring a vast array of ethnic groups, which is why wodzionka is also well known as brotzupa. Despite the presence of Poles, Germans and Czechs in the area, Silesians, who are the largest minority group in Poland, are the most commonly identified group of people with this region.
Wodzionka is included in the "traditional products list" of Poland’s Department of Agriculture. It is one of the 25 Silesian soups on the list. Another soup, parzybroda, was included in 2007 and originated in the southern Polish city of Czestochowa. The name means "chin’s scald," because people deem it so delicious that they begin to eat it when it is still very hot, scalding their chins in the process. A third soup included in the list is zurek, which is traditionally served as a Christmas Eve meal and consists of boiled eggs, potatoes and sausages.
Additionally, wodzionka is one of the recipes, numbering about 100, that exist in Upper Silesia. A popular one is krupniok, which is a variation of a traditional Polish blood sausage called kaszanka, or kiszka. Other Upper Silesia dishes include zur, a soup created from potatoes and fermented barley; and zymloki, which are bread rolls containing pork blood.