Just wanted to say hi and to let everyone know I’m still here. Been busy with the Spring Walleye run here in Michigan. Also did some out of state turkey hunting along with Spring clean up around the house. I will be posting again soon. Unfortunately my iCloud deleted all of my back up pictures so I will have to start over again. See you after the Michigan Spring turkey season. As always thanks for visiting and leaving comments when you have enjoyed a dish, Ken
There are many variations of this recipe out there with several optional ingredients. For me this is pure comfort food. As far back as I can remember my mom always made these for us and they are still a treat to this day. Many recipes call for the addition of brown sugar, more Worcestershire sauce etc. but I have never seen another recipe that includes my mom’s special touch. She always would shred fresh cabbage, a chopped green pepper, and a few stalks of celery to the pot. This puts this simple recipe over the top and I think anyone who tries it would agree that it makes this recipe better than all the others out there on the internet. (O.K. I am a bit biased here but try it and you will see it’s true). So here is what you will need and what you will need to do to take the journey to Porcupine Meatball greatness.
1 pound 80/20 ground beef
1/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
1/4 cup fine chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (then to taste)
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 can condensed tomato soup (reserve 2 tablespoons for meat mixture)
1 15oz can stewed tomatoes including juices
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 cups fine chopped cabbage (I like 2 cups)
1 fine chopped green bell pepper
1 large or two small fine chopped celery stalks
Directions: Mix first seven ingredients in a large bowl along with two tablespoons of condensed tomato soup. Form into meatballs and add to a pot large enough to keep them in a single layer. Make sure you do not make the meatballs too large or the rice will not cook properly. Blend the remaining condensed soup with the stewed tomatoes (including juices) in a blender adding 1/4 cup of water if you feel its necessary. Add Worcestershire sauce. Pour into the pot with the meatballs. Top with the chopped cabbage, green pepper, and celery pushing down into the soup in between the meatballs. Bring to a short boil, place a lid on the pot and lower to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs. Turn once halfway through making sure the rice cooks evenly.
The big difference between Polish and German Schnitzel is that Polish Schnitzel uses ground meat in place of thin cutlets. I prefer the Polish style as you can add extra ingredients to the mix and are not limited to dry spices mixed in with the flour. Although I don’t remember my mom making these when I was a kid, I do order them at my favorite Polish restaurant Polonia in Hamtramck Michigan. Based on the fact that the Schnitzel at Polonia tasted similar to their meatballs with some subtle differences, I started with my base recipe for meatballs. I also included some internet searching (can’t remember all of the sites) and began tweaking the ingredients until I was happy with the results. Although these always turn out well and my wife likes them better than my meatballs, I’d love to find the missing spice that I can’t seem to identify at the restaurant. I guess I’ll have to keep trying which isn’t all that bad. I think if you make these you will agree that eating these while tweaking the recipe is far from being a punishment. As always if you change one of my recipes and think you have made it better please drop me a line and let me know what changes you have made. Here is what you will need to get started.
1/2 pound of 80/20 beef
1/2 pound of ground pork
1/4 cup of fine chopped onion
2 green onions white and green parts sliced into thin rounds
1/3 to 1/2 cup homemade coarse breadcrumbs (not the store-bought sawdust garbage) plus more for dredging
2 tablespoons double strength tomato paste (I like Amore brand in the squeeze tube)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (then to taste)
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (then to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Emeril’s Essence (optional) I know, Emeril is not Polish but it works
Directions: Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl (except for the bread crumbs for dredging). Shape to your desired size. (I make five oblong patties out of this recipe). Press the patties into more homemade breadcrumbs on a platter (whatever sticks is fine) and fry in the oil of your choice until done. Serve with the side dishes of your choice. I’ve served these with mashed potatoes, Pierogi, German Spaetzle, etc. you name it it’s all good.
COOKS NOTE: Prior to completing any of my ground meat recipes I always fry a small patty and taste for seasoning before completing the entire batch. (Ancient Polish secret)
So I’ve been kinda on a soup kick the last couple of weeks. I thought it was only proper to follow-up my Dill Pickle Soup recipe with another of my favorite Polish soups Kapusniak. Now, Kapusniak like Bigos can have many different variations and there really aren’t very many rules when it comes to this one pot meal. I like mine extremely thick and full of meat. My Stepdad likes his with more broth and less meat and he is from Poland. So who is right? We both are, as always eat the way you like right? Right. I like to make my initial broth the day before I finish the soup so I can cool it and remove the fat that rises to the top. Think of this recipe as a guideline. You can follow it exactly if you like or compromise with what you have on hand in the fridge. So here is what you need to make this recipe the way I do. I had some chicken wings in the freezer I threw in the broth as well just to use them up. Not sure if it really made a difference but if you have that left over piece of something or other hanging around in the freezer throw it in unless it is freezer burned of course.
2 to 2.5 pounds of bone in pork ribs (I use left over rib tips and flap meat from my St. Louis cut spareribs)
3 quarts of water (2 quarts after the 2 hour simmer)
1 – 24oz jar of sauerkraut with juice (I like Bavarian style made with white wine)
1/2 small head of cabbage chopped small
1 onion chopped
3 carrots shredded
2 to 3 medium ribs of celery finely sliced
1 medium potato peeled and chopped (I like Yukon Gold)
1/4 cup of long cooking Pearl Barley
2 tablespoons of double strength tomato paste (I like Amore brand)
2 Bay Leaves
2 whole allspice
2 Tablespoons of reduced sodium Better than Bouillon beef base
1 pound of smoked Polish sausage sliced into rounds
Salt and Pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS: The day before you want to eat the soup, simmer the pork ribs uncovered in 3 quarts of water for two hours. Remove from heat, cool overnight in the fridge leaving the ribs in the broth. Simmer the barley in water for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain reserving for the next day. The following day remove the fat from the top of the broth and discard. Remove the rib meat from the bones and set aside. Measure your broth and top off with water if necessary until you have two quarts of broth. Place all of the remaining ingredients along with the reserved meat into the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid slightly cracked and simmer for one hour until the fresh cabbage and vegetables are tender. If possible serve with a Sourdough Rye and butter.
A lot of people have never heard of this soup, and many others seem to make funny faces just at the mention of its name. I have to give credit to my mom for teaching me how to make this soup. However, never being able to leave well enough alone I’ve made some changes through the years. Like all soups, you can be flexible with the ingredients in this recipe to suit your tastes. The following recipe is the one that I have created. I will include the brand names of the items that I use but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Once you have this soup you will find yourself making it regularly and sharing the love of this Polish soup with friends and family. Legend has it that this soup was created for pregnant women in Poland who were having cravings for dill pickles. Now I have mentioned being flexible, however the one area I am never flexible on is on the pickles I use. I strictly use Krakus Polish Dill Pickles as I think they have the perfect balance of flavors for this soup. Ok, maybe I have strayed a few times with other brands but I have always come back to the Krakus. Whatever you do at least use Polish Dill Pickles and not some of the large name brands from the grocery stores. Trust me on this, the flavor of the brine is different. Here is what you will need to dazzle your friends and family with a unique soup that deserves a place in your repertoire.
2 quarts of chicken stock (see cooks note at the bottom for my variation)
2 medium carrots shredded (I use a standard hand grater)
1 medium potato peeled and diced (I like Yukon Gold)
3 medium celery stalks finely sliced
5 to 8 shredded Polish Dill Pickles depending on the size (Polish pickles are smaller than other brands in the large chain stores)
Pickle Brine to taste (depending on personal preference)
1/4 cup of long cooking pearl barley
1/2 cup of whole milk
2 tablespoons of flour
5 tablespoons of sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
COOKS NOTE: I have used several broth variations for this recipe through the years including homemade. What I have found to be the best and many have agreed is the following: 2 cups of Swanson beef broth (yes beef). 2 cups of Swanson chicken broth. 1 quart of water mixed with 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Better Than Bullion chicken base.
DIRECTIONS: Simmer the barley in a separate pan for about 30 minutes on low, drain and rinse, set aside. Combine the broth, carrots, potato, celery, and the cooked barley and simmer until the potato is tender but not falling apart (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add the shredded pickles and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add brine at this time if desired. Whisk the milk with the flour in one bowl until smooth. Beat the egg with the sour cream in another bowl until smooth. You need to temper both the milk and flour mixture as well as the sour cream and egg mixture. Here is how to do it. Take a ladle of the hot soup and put it in the flour/milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add to the soup and simmer until slightly thickened. Do the same with the sour cream/egg mixture as well. Remove the soup from the heat and add the sour cream mixture making sure there are no clumps and stirring well. Do not boil after this point or the soup can curdle. I have found that if you cover the soup with a lid and leave on the hot (but turned off) burner this helps dissolve any clumps until you get better at creaming this soup. I love to serve this with thick sliced European sour dough bread. Grunt, grown, enjoy and wonder how you ever lived without this wonderful soup.
So its been a pretty busy weekend in the kitchen and it’s time to kick back with a cold beer and share a few recipes. This is a great cornbread recipe that I like to serve alongside some low and slow smoked ribs or pork butt. If you don’t have either one of those, no worries, it’s even good by itself or alongside the food of your choice. Now when it comes to corn breads there are two schools of thought that continue to cause arguments. Sweet cake like cornbread like this one vs dry crumbly terrible corn breads. I think you can see which side of the argument I’m on. There may be a time and a place for the dry crumbly ones, just not in my kitchen. I recently took this cornbread to a BBQ and figured I’d get a picture of it once it was sliced on a plate. By the time I made it over to the table it was already wiped out and there were several requests for the recipe. This recipe can be cut in half and baked in a preheated cast iron skillet with melted butter for a crispy exterior or in a deep dish lasagna style pan like I used. Here is what you’ll need to make yourself happy. Inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine
10 ounces of yellow corn meal about a cup
9 ounces of unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 Tablespoons of baking powder
4 Tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 cups fresh grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
corn kernels cut from four fresh ears of corn
1 jalapeño pepper very fine dice (or more to your liking)
Directions: Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl mix cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In a separate bowl whisk the egg, sugar, oil, and buttermilk. Rub 2 tablespoons of butter on the bottom and sides of the deep dish 9 x 13 lasagna style pan (this may overflow a shallow pan when it expands as it cooks). Mix the ingredients from the two bowls together. Gently fold in the corn kernels, cheese, and chiles. Pour into the well buttered baking dish and cook for about 30 minutes or until the edges are brown and a toothpick inserted into the cornbread pulls clean.
Ok, this post will be short and sweet. If you want to hear me babble on about summer squash, go to my summer squash gratin recipe. This is a very simple pasta dish that not only comes together quickly, it is great on a hot summer day since it doesn’t require a long simmering sauce. OK, so here is what you will need.
1 pound of rigatoni pasta
1 pound of Italian sausage (I used hot but I think next time I’ll do a 50/50 mix of sweet and hot)
1/3 cup of chopped shallots
2 cups of chopped yellow summer squash
3 ounces of Chèvre goat cheese
2 tablespoons of chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Fresh cracked black pepper
Grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup of reserved pasta water
Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, sauté the Italian sausage in olive oil removing the casing and breaking up into small pieces. When cooked remove and set aside. Remove the leftover oil from the pan but leave all the browned goodness behind. Add more oil and sauté the yellow squash and the shallots until soft but still a bit crisp. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain reserving a 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss all the other ingredients back into the hot pan except for the Parmesan Reggiano and mix well. Serve topped with the Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional parsley.