This soup of Russian/Ukrainian origin is also popular in the three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Poland, and eastern Germany—an example of the influence of Russian foods on the cuisines of countries that were once under the domination of the Soviet Union. Solyanka’s popularity is attributed to its versatility (using any kind of leftover meat or fish) and the combination of piquant flavors that make you crave a second bowl of it.
This dish is traditionally served during the Christmas season in New Mexico, when a pot simmering at the back of the stove provides a welcoming fare for holiday well-wishers. I can’t remember any holiday party or dinner that I’ve attended that this stew hasn’t been served. At my house this is a staple on Christmas Eve. I always have a pot ready to warm my husband and I up after strolling Old Town and enjoying the luminarias. Similar to, yet different from the “pozole” served in Mexico, this popular dish is served as a soup, a main course, or a vegetable side dish. Posole, the processed corn, is the main ingredient of this dish of the same name. If posole corn is not available, you may substitute hominy–the taste won’t be the same, but it will still be good.