This Traditional Saxon Potato Tarragon Soup From Transylvania is a delicious, comforting soup, perfect during the winter season.
The soup is made with starchy potatoes and meat, usually pork or smoked ham, and it is flavored with tarragon, sour cream, and vinegar for an extra zing.
This traditional Saxon potato tarragon soup recipe belongs to my German grandmother. She lived most of her life in Transylvania, and as a child, I spent many of my summer vacations in her house.
Her recipes are very close to my heart, but this soup, in particular, brings powerful memories of my childhood. In the last few years, I discovered that many of these memories are related to the foods my grandmothers used to make.
If I close my eyes and think about a recipe they used to make, I can taste it in my mouth. I remember textures and flavors that I never imagined I would remember after so many years.
How to make this soup:
This is a potato and meat soup recipe. Pork or smoked ham is cooked together with starchy potatoes. The soup is flavored with tarragon, sour cream, and vinegar for an extra zing.
As you can see, the soup, in particular, doesn’t require much. It has only a few ingredients, but the secret of the flavor in this soup is the tarragon.
If tarragon is not your thing, this soup might not be for you because you cannot replace the tarragon with something else.
Some recipes are like that, and while I am a real fan of replacing ingredients, I think you should stick with the instructions for this one.
What kind of ingredients you need for this soup?
This soup is supposed to be a low-budget soup that would feed the entire family. Therefore please do not fuss over what kind of meat you should use.
- Pork or beef: I used pork shoulder, beef or pork bones for soup with marrow and a little bit of meat on them, smoked ham, beef or even smoked ham hocks. The smoked meats will enhance the flavor, but even regular meat will be absolutely fine to use.
- Potatoes– we will use starchy potatoes like Idaho or Russet
- Tarragon– either fresh or dried
- Sour cream
- Salt and pepper
- Regular vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Step 1. Cook the meat.
Start by placing the meat in a soup pot in cold salted water. Bring the pot to the boiling point, then simmer it for about an hour or until the meat is cooked.
It usually takes about an hour, but it depends on the type of meat you use, as some meats are tougher than others.
When the meat is almost cooked, add the potatoes. Cook them until soft.
Some soups in Romanian cuisine are thickened with sour cream and eggs, and this is one of them.
The last step is to add tarragon, sour cream, eggs, and a little bit of vinegar at the end. (See the instructions on the recipe card on how to do this step).
The result is a very nutritious and comforting soup that everyone will like.
Another secret ingredient that makes this soup ridiculously good is vinegar. German or Saxon soups made in Transylvania are usually not sour, like the Romanian traditional soups.
However, it seems that this soup is an exception to the rule, and a little bit of vinegar is added to the pot to give it an extra zing.
There are no other vegetables in this soup, why?
People asked me if they can add other vegetables to this soup because it seems weird that a soup would not have some carrots, celery, or whatever.
No, do not add anything. You will see that the soup has a wonderful flavor only with the ingredients described in the recipe.
Please, don’t mess it up, trying to create something that it is not. I mean, you can, because I do not watch you in the kitchen, but if you want the traditional taste of this soup, please follow the recipe.
Can I make this Traditional Saxon Potato Tarragon Soup in advance and freeze it?
I am not a fan of freezing this soup. While you can freeze mostly anything under the sun, that doesn’t mean it will be awesome when defrosted. However, if you decide to freeze, it will keep well for up to three months.
I do not like tarragon, can I replace it with something else?
This recipe is a potato and tarragon soup. The awesome taste of the soup is because of the tarragon. You can replace the tarragon with other herbs you like, but the soup will not be the same.
Or maybe you want to join The Bossy Kitchen community group where you are welcome to share some of your creations with the rest of the group.
- 1 pound meat (could be pork shoulder, soup bones, smoked ham or ham hock, or beef)
- 4-5 medium potatoes (starchy potatoes like Idaho or Russet)
- 1 bunch fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 8 cups water
- 3-4 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 large egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons regular vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Cut the meat into cubes.
- In a large soup pot place the meat and bones(if available) and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt.
- Bring to a boil. Remove the foam that forms on top. Lower the heat and let it simmer until the meat falls off the bone, about an hour.
- Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes into cubes.
- When the meat is cooked, add the potatoes and boil them until they are soft.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add vinegar to taste.
- Separately, in a small bowl beat an egg and add sour cream to it. Mix well. While the soup is simmering, take few tablespoons of soup out of the pot and add them to the sour cream mixture. Mix well. This is called tempering the eggs.
- When soup is ready, remove it from the heat and slowly add the sour cream mixture to the pot, stirring constantly.(soup will have a creamy white texture)
- Add fresh or dried tarragon to flavor the soup.
- Serve hot.
Do not add the eggs and the sour cream to the soup without tempering them first with a little bit of soup from the pot. If you do, the eggs will cook and we will end up with scrambled eggs instead. Pour soup slowly over them and mix well until you create a creamy mixture.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 19g