Ukrainian Millet and Potato Soup – Kulesh

Soup or porridge meal name came from Hungarian word köles – millet. There are two essential ingredients – millet and salted pork (salo). Potato came later but added texture and hearty. Other name is Field Porridge, as in prepared on campfire.

Salo (salted pork fat) is very important part of Ukrainian cuisine. Yes, it is very rich in calories, but, like bacon, makes all meals tastes better! Black bread with piece of salted pork fat is best for vodka. Also absolutely delicious thing – chopped or minced in a meat grinder salted pork fat and lot of chopped garlic. I store it in small jar in freezer and use in very small amounts for authentic taste of my Ukrainian meals. Like borscht or kulesh.

And about millet – in Russia we use many groats but not in many ways, mostly like boiled in water or milk with some butter and sweet or savory addition on top. Most popular way to cook millet is bake it in pot with chopped pumpkin. Use as colorful grouts as you can find, the bright yellow millet do not fall apart (mine was pale).

Oh, and there is important thing to know about millet – it contains fat, which eventually oxidize and millet begins to taste bitter. To avoid this, keep the millet in a dark cold place (I use the freezer as well) and be sure to rinse the millet couple times with hot water before cooking.

I used slow-cooker for this meal.

Ukrainian Millet and Potato Soup – Kulesh

Yield: 4 servings

1-2 Russet potato, peeled and chopped in small cubes (about 1 cup total)
1/2 cup dry millet (uncooked)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3/4 oz. salted pork fat (look it in stores in fridges near ham), chopped (I used 1 tbsp. of salted pork fat and garlic mix)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought

Melt salted pork fat in small skillet, add onion and garlic and cook until golden brown. Add potato, millet, cooked onion and broth in slow cooker, cover and cook until potato became soft about 6 hours in LOW.

Serve hot.

1 serving is about 175 calories

My way to eat it – with chicken sausage and sunny-side egg.

Ukrainian Millet and Potato Soup – Kulesh

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