Archive for the ‘Polish’ Category

Lazy Golabki (Lazy “Unstuffed Cabbage”)

ImageAs promised another lazy post. As a matter of fact these were pictures that I took months ago when I was considering re-starting my blog. How lazy is that?  This recipe satisfies the craving for stuffed cabbage when you don’t have the time or the strength to make the real thing. I’m sure these type of recipes would make any Babcia cringe so just reserve them for when she isn’t invited to dinner and you don’t have a lot of time. You can also double this recipe and use a deep Lasagna style pan if you need to feed a larger crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you will need,

Ingredients

1 pound of lean beef (but not too lean).

1 Medium onion chopped.

1 small to medium green bell pepper chopped.

Scant 1/4 cup of long grain white rice.

1 10.5 oz can of condensed tomato soup diluted with one can of water.

1 Tablespoon of tomato paste (optional but suggested).

At least 3 Cups of chopped cabbage.

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste).

Black pepper to taste.

What you need to do,

Directions

Begin browning beef in a pan. Before it is fully browned add the chopped onion and bell pepper and sauté until they soften a bit.

Stir in the rice and salt and pepper.

Add the tomato soup and water and simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to blend.

Layer the un- cooked cabbage on the bottom of a baking dish. (Use cooking spray if desired)

Add all of the other ingredients over the top of the cabbage and spread. (Do not mix)

Bake at 325 for 1.5 hours or until the cabbage is soft and the rice is tender. Also making sure it is not too soupy and that you have given it time for the liquid to be absorbed. (Add additional 1/2 hour if necessary checking after 15 minutes)

Lazy Pierogi

ImageWell after taking an almost two year sabbatical (and giving up on blogging) I decided to check my statistics after someone subscribed to my site even though I hadn’t been posting. To my surprise I am still receiving daily hits from around the world and have decided to rekindle the fire. I figured a great way to start would be with some “Lazy” recipes to accompany my laziness over the past few years. I didn’t stop cooking (confirmed by my scale numbers) I just stopped posting. Hope you enjoy my next two posts, they are quick, easy, and are full flavored for those “Lazy Nights”. This recipe goes back over 20 years so I can’t remember how it came to fruition or if someone deserves credit other than myself.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is what you will need,

INGREDIENTS

  • One 12 oz. package wide noodles or spirals
  • ¼ lb. butter
  • 2 Cups onions, chopped (or to your taste)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (secret ingredient, adds great flavor and no one will guess “what is that?” .)
  • One 4 ounce can mushroom pieces
  • ¾ lb. bacon, fried and crumbled (or smoked Kielbasa chopped small)
  • 1 small can sauerkraut, rinsed

Here is what you need to do,

DIRECTIONS

1. Saute chopped onions in butter until golden brown.
2. Add the rinsed sauerkraut; (brown kraut slightly) pour over the cooked noodles.
3. Add undiluted mushroom soup and stir.
4. Add drained mushrooms and bacon and stir.
5. Place in casserole and bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Enjoy,

Polish Schnitzel (Sznycel) (Kotlet Mielony)

The big difference between Polish and German Schnitzel is that Polish Schnitzel uses ground meat in place of thin cutlets. ( Addendum, read the comments on this topic from some viewers in Poland, they have corrected me on this. I guess mine is more common in the Detroit area ). 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.

Ingredients

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 egg

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)

Kapusniak (Polish Sauerkraut Soup)

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.

INGREDIENTS

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.

Polish Dill Pickle Soup (Zupa Ogorkowa)

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.

INGREDIENTS

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

1 egg

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.

Cabbage Soup (Kapusniak ze swiezej kapusty)

“Of all the things you cook in your kitchen, surely soup is the most personal. It needn’t have a name, it need never taste the same, and you may never remember how you made it.”  Monica Sheridan, The Art of Irish Cooking 1965. 

In my opinion nothing could be more true. I can remember countless times throwing together a great soup with scraps from the refrigerator, not taking notes, and never being able to re-create it. However, this soup is one that I make regularly but have never measured the ingredients until yesterday. That’s the one thing about knowing your soup pot. My mom has this beat up old pot. The lid is dented, the sides are dented, the black handle on the lid is now gray from oxidation and it is cracked as well. That pot has probably seen more soup than some commercial restaurant pots. I’ve watched her make cabbage soup, kapusniak, potato soup, tomato soup, dill pickle soup, beef barley soup (ok, you get the point) in this pot and never measured a thing. I once asked her how many quarts it was and of course the answer was “I don’t know”. I have a modern version of that pot, it’s an enameled cast iron and I’m not sure how many quarts it is either. So I guess my long-winded point is, learn your pot and never measure again. Now I did measure for the sake of this blog. I’m sure if I said fill the pot one inch from the top with cabbage, add the rest of the ingredients, cover with water and simmer no one would attempt to make this. This recipe is a vegetarian version of the cabbage soup I grew up on and my mom still makes to this day.

Cooks notes: I use Bragg Liquid Aminos in this recipe. They are available at any health food store or even at Kroger now. It is kind of a soy sauce replacement. It is much lower in sodium and has a great flavor. If you can’t find it you could use Maggi or Kitchen Bouquet. However, if you use either of those cut back to a few dashes as they have a much more condensed flavor and higher sodium content. Also I’m not sure if those products are certified vegetarian. 

Ingredients

10 cups of hand chopped cabbage

1 medium onion chopped small

1 large carrot shredded

1 large or 2 small celery stalks chopped small

8 cups of water

1 rounded tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon vegetarian soup base

3 small squeezes of Bragg Liquid Aminos (see cooks notes) then to taste

2 whole allspice 

1 to 2 fresh chopped tomatoes or 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (I like Amore brand double strength)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: (Here’s the cool part). Place everything in the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover most of the way until the cabbage is to your liking. Enjoy!

Sour Cream Cucumbers

No introduction is needed with this one. We have all had them before. These go great as a side dish with any Polish meal.

Ingredients

4 cups of packed thin sliced cucumbers

salt

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 cup of sour cream

Directions 

Peel and slice cucumbers. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Mix all the other ingredients in a separate bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Mix with the cucumbers and place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.

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