Polish cuisine is a mix of Slavic culinary traditions. It’s hearty Polish cuisine is rich in meat, especially chicken and pork. In winter vegetables like cabbage and spices as well as different kinds of noodles the most notable of which are the pierogi.
Poland has a number of unique regional cuisines with regional differences in preparations and ingredients.
The basic Polish borscht (barszcz) recipe includes red beetroot, onions, garlic and vegetables such as carrots, celery or parsley root. The ingredients are cooked together to produce a clear broth when strained served in bouillon cups. Some recipes include bacon which gives the soup a distinctive "smoky taste".
Cold borscht (chlodnik) starts with young beets chopped or boiled together with their leaves. When the soup is cooled it’s usually mixed with soured milk, kefir or yoghurt. Typically raw chopped vegetables like radishes or cucumbers are added and the soup is garnished and flavored with dill or parsley. Chopped, hard-boiled eggs may be added.
Czernina (from the Polish word czarny) is a soup made of duck blood and clear poultry broth. In English it is referred to as Duck Blood Soup. The sweet and sour taste of the soup comes from the addition of sugar and vinegar. It is usually served with fine noodles, macaroni or boiled potatoes. Until the 19th century czernina was also a symbol in Polish culture. It was served to young men applying for the hand of their beloved ones after the parents rejected their proposal. It is a plot element in Pan Tadeusz, a famous Polish epic poem by Adam Mickiewicz.
Flaczki beef or pork tripe stew with marjoram.
Zupa grzybowa a mushroom soup made of various species of mushrooms.
Zupa ogorkowa a traditional Polish soup made of sour, salted cucumbers and potatoes. Occasionally rice is substituted for the potatoes.
Sour rye soup (known in Polish as zur or zurek) made of soured rye flour and meat (usually boiled pork sausage or pieces of smoked sausage, bacon or ham). Sometimes served in an edible bowl made of bread or with boiled potatoes.
Zupa pomidorowa a delicious tomato soup usually served with macaroni, rice or croutons.
Pierogi – dumplings which are usually filled with sauerkraut and/or mushrooms, meat, potatoes and/or savory cheese, sweet curd cheese with a touch of vanilla or blueberries or other fruit, such as cherries or strawberries and sometimes even apples. The sweet versions may be topped with sugar and the other versions with sour cream.
Bigos a traditional Polish stew which many consider to be the Polish national dish. The stew is made of cabbage and meat. Since there is no standard recipe, then recipes vary from region to region and family to family. Typical ingredients are fresh and fermented white cabbage (sauerkraut, kapusta kiszona in Polish), various cuts of meat and sausages, often whole or purred tomatoes, honey and mushrooms. The meat may include pork (often smoked), ham, bacon, beef, veal, kielbasa and since bigos is considered to be a hunter’s stew venison or other game, It may be seasoned with pepper, caraway, juniper berries, bay leaf, marjoram, pimento, dried or smoked plums, red wine and other ingredients. Bigos is usually eaten with rye bread and potatoes often accompanied by vodka or dry white wine. A common practice is to keep a pot of bigos going for a week or more, replenishing ingredients as necessary (cf. perpetual stew). This, the seasonal availability of cabbage and its richness in vitamin C made bigos a traditional part of the winter diet in Poland and elsewhere. In Poland, it was a traditional dish to be served on the Second Day of Christmas.
Fasolka po bretonska a cheap bean and sausage stew.
Golabki are a form of cabbage rolls. They are a traditional Polish dish consisting of boiled cabbage leaves stuffed with ground beef, chopped onions and rice or barley; most often baked and refried in a spicy tomato sauce.
Golonka w piwie – pork knuckle, sometimes in beer sauce, often served with horseradish sauce.
Karp po zydowsku – carp in green sauce.
Kaszanka – Polish blood sausage.
Kasza gryczana ze skwarkami which is buckwheat cereal with chopped onions and fried lard.
Kaczka z jabikami – roast duck with apples.
Klopski a meatloaf stuffed with eggs.
Kurczak de volaille – chicken steaks filled with mushrooms, spread with butter and covered with bread crumbs.
Losos – salmon, often boiled in dill sauce.
Placki kartoflane/ziemnaczane are potato pancakes usually served with sour cream.
Poledwiczki wolowe - beef tenderloin often with mushroom sauce.
Pyzy are potato dumplings served by themselves or stuffed with minced meat or cottage cheese.
Zrazy zawijane – rolled fillets of veal in a spicy sauce.
Beverages include podpiwek a very lightly alcoholic beer made of crumbled dark bread, wino proste a variety of alcoholic beverages made of fruit extracts and spirit, wodka (vodka) – Poland produces and exports many premium vodkas, among them such brands as Chopin vodka, Belvedere, Luksusowa, Wyborowa, Zubrowka and many more. Pablo Picasso once said, "The three most astonishing things in the past half-century were the blues, cubism, and Polish vodka."
Golobki – Polish cabbage rolls
(Serves 8 – 10)
• 1 lb ground pork (or veal if you do not eat pork, don't use overly lean meat)
• 2 cups cooked rice
• 2 eggs
• 4 garlic cloves
• 1 large onion
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons marjoram
• 1 teaspoon marjoram
• 1 tablespoon thyme (or sage)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon pepper
• 2 (14 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
• 1 (12 ounce) can tomato sauce
1. Chop onion.
2. Mince garlic.
3. Saute garlic and onion in 2 T butter over medium heat until onions are caramelized. Remove from heat and let cool to near room temperature.
4. Beat 2 eggs thoroughly with 2 T marjoram, 1 T thyme/sage, salt, and pepper.
5. In bowl, add ground beef, pork (or veal), rice, onion, garlic, and eggs.
6. Mix thoroughly with your hands.
7. Cover and let rest in the fridge. (You can let it sit overnight, it will just let the flavors permeate more.).
8. Core cabbage.
9. Blanche cabbage leaves in boiling water, peeling them off as they become limp. (Alternatively, after coring the cabbage, you can put it in the freezer and after it's frozen, let it thaw and the leaves will be limp--you can just pull them off. **If you choose to freeze, freeze the cabbage the night before and keep in mind it will take a few hours for it to thaw**).
Once you've separated all the leaves, take a paring knife and cut off any thick stems preventing the limp leaf from bending/rolling.
10. Put about 2 T of meat filling in the center of each leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf in and roll it up into a little package. Put each golabki seam-down into a casserole dish. (At this point, if you like, you can freeze them and thaw them later. Once thawed, continue with the recipe steps below.).
11. Once you've used up all the cabbage leaves or meat filling, take your cans of tomatoes and pour them over the golabki.
12. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoons of marjoram into the tomato sauce before pouring it over the golabki and tomatoes.
Bake covered at 350 for 2 hours
Polish Bigos / Hunter's Stew
3½ hours | 20 min prep
• 1 cup apple juice
• 1 lb smoked pork butt
• 1 lb spareribs
• 1/4 lb bacon
• 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes
• 2 cups water
• 2 bay leaves
• black pepper
• 4 lbs heads of cabbage
• 2 lbs sauerkraut (drained and rinsed)
• 1 lb pork loin chop or country-style pork ribs
• 1 lb smoked kielbasa
• 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
• 16 ounces fresh mushrooms
• 1 ounce mushroom (dried)
• 2 tablespoons flour
1. Brown pork and spareribs in a large heavy pot.
2. Add smoked butt with 1 cup of water and simmer until 1 hour.
3. Add the sauerkraut and one cup apple juice.
4. Chop the cabbage fine and add to sauerkraut.
5. Add lots of pepper and salt cover and simmer 1 hour.
6. Remove lid and keep pot on a very low simmer.
7. In a pan, fry bacon until crisp, then crumble into sauerkraut mixture.
8. Remove most of the bacon fat and fry onions and mushrooms and flour
until they just brown.
9. Mix into sauerkraut mixture.
10. Cut kielbasa into slices add to sauerkraut mixture with the tomatoes.
11. Bring to a boil, simmer 30 minutes and serve hot. By Rasma Raisters
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