2What Polish cuisine is really like? Bread is traditional Polish food. After summer harvest in villages all over the country farmers have a special celebration day called “Dożynki”, the day of the end of harvest. That day, people gather together to sing, dance, thank God and taste the first bread made from 'seeds of the summer'.Polish cuisine is famous for dishes with well-defined taste. They can be hot, sweet or sour. It is impossible to cook the Polish style without using some of the following ingredients: sauerkraut, meat, fruit and fresh or dried mushrooms. The main meal is dinner, which is eaten early in the afternoon. A normal dinner usually consists of soup, the main course and also dessert.
4SOUPSoup usually starts off the meal. Barszcz or red beet soup, served with stuffed dumplings, or fermented rye soup: Żurek or chłodnik, a cold beet and vegetables in sour milk soup, which is available only in the summer. Some other soups are occasionally available and these include grzybowa (wild mushroom), ogórkowa (pickle) and kapuśniak (cabbage).
5BEETROOT SOUP (Barszcz) This is a classic beetroot soup.2 litres beef stock or vegetable stock 1 onion, peeled and chopped 1 bouquet garni 1 can mushrooms (or fresh) 3 uncooked medium-sized beetroot, peeled and sliced thickly 300 ml kwas 1 tsp sugarHeat beef stock in a large pan. Add the onion, bouquet garni, mushrooms and beetroot. Boil for an hour. Strain the soup and stir in the kwas into the clear soup. Add sugar to taste and reheat, if necessary without boiling.
6POLISH SOUR RYE SOUP (Żurek Polski) 2 cups rolled oats 2 cups watm water Crust of rye bread 1-1/2 lbs. Polish sausage 1-1/2 gt. water 1-Tbsp. prepared horseradish 1 tsp. brown sugar Salt and pepper to tasteMix the oats and warm water, add bread crust. Let this stand until mixtre sours, at least 24 hours. Strain, reserve the liquid. Cook sausage in water for about 1 hour. Remove the sausage, skim of the fat. Combine skimmed broth and oatmeal liquid. Add horseradish, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Slice the sausage, add to the broth then bring it to a boil.
7SOUR CUCUMBER SOUP (Zupa Ogórkowa) Another sour flavoured soup1 litre chicken stock 2 med sized potatoes 2 med sized cucumbers, pickled in brine 25g butter 150 ml sour cream 1 tsp plain flour salt and pepper to tasteHeat the stock. Peel and dice potatoes and boil them in the stock until soft. Peel the cucumbers and grate them coarsely. Melt the butter and soften the grated cucumber. Add to the stock and potatoes. Taste and add a little brine if necessary - the soup should have a pleasantly sour taste. Mix the sour cream with the flour and stir into the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately without bringing back to the boil.
8SAUERKRAUT SOUP (Kapuśniak) This is a typical polish winter soup and is very simple to make. You will notice that sauerkraut is a common ingredient in the Polish kitchen.25g butter 1 bay leaf 4 spare ribs 200g sauerkraut 2 dried mushrooms (soaked overnight) 1 onion (sliced) litres waterHeat butter in a small frying pan and fry the spare ribs briskly to seal in their juices. Gently boil the ribs and all the other ingredients in the water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauerkraut softens. Remove the spare ribs and bay leaf, season to taste and serve.
9MEATThe main meal in Poland nearly always consists of some type of meat. Pork is the national meat of Poland and many main course dishes will contain it. Pork can appear a boneless pork chop (kotlet schabowy) or pork loin (pieczeń), which is usually served with some type of sauce. This sauce could be sos myśliwski, usually a sweetish sauce with raisins and honey among the ingredients or sos grzybowy, a wild mushroom (boletus edulis) sauce.
10HUNTERS STEW (Bigos)Poland's national dish, and one of my favourite dishes. There is a variety in ingredients, some have mushrooms and juniper berries, while others contain apples, venison, lamb or beef. It is best made a two days in advance and reheated on low heat before serving. This enhances the flavour.50g butter 2 onions, peeled and chopped 1 jar sauerkraut 1 can tomatoes, peeled 1 small white cabbage 300 ml strong beef stock 250g smoked sausage 5 to 6 pork ribs salt and pepperMelt butter in a saucepan and fry the onions until golden. Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water, drain thoroughly and mix with the onions. Add the tomatoes. Chop the cabbage finely and mix in. Add the stock, stirring well, and then the pork ribs. Slice the sausage and add into the stew. Allow to simmer on low heat for one hour. Season to taste. Remove from heat and leave covered for 24 hours. Refrigerate and reheat before serving
11BREADED PORK CHOPS (Kotlet Schabowy) 4 medium-sized pork chops salt and pepper 25g plain flour 1 egg, beaten 25g breadcrumbs Oil/butter for fryingBeat out the pork chops until fairly thin. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. On separate plates, pour flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Dip each chop into the flour, coating on both sides, and then dip into the beaten egg. finally press the chops on to the breadcrumbs, ensuring even coating. Heat sufficient oil/butter in a large frying pan. When very hot, add the pork and cook over high heat for 5 minutes on each side. Lower heat and cook for another few minutes until golden.
12SALADThe authentic Polish salad is the surówka, which consists of grated winter vegetables like cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, leeks and apples. A tasty but simple salad is mizeria, sliced raw cucumbers in sour cream or sour milk.
13DESSERTDessert can consist of either cake or ice cream. There are apple cakes (szarlotka), cheesecake (sernik) and poppy seed rolls (makowiec). There are also layer cakes, apple tarts, eastern cakes, cream cakes and doughnuts.