Have your meals lacked diversity lately? If so, perhaps it’s time to try something that will expose you and your family to a radically different dining experience! One such option is through incorporating foreign elements into your meals. Polish cuisine is influenced by many different cultures, especially that of the Czech and Slovak, and also by German, Hungarian, and Jewish cooking. In this blog, discover how to turn your cooking into the best Polish dishes. We will be discussing common ingredients, appetizers and second courses, main dishes, desserts, and drinks that will send your taste buds to eastern Europe.
Common ingredients used in the best Polish dishes
Popular ingredients for the best Polish dishes consist of meats, vegetables, grains, and flavorings. This country’s cuisine also tends to be rich in cream and eggs. Traditional Polish meals are known for their complexity and preparation time. They also make heavy use of fermented food and sour tastes, so if this is your palate, you’re in for a great meal.
Common meats served with Polish meals are pork, chicken, beef, and kielbasa (Polish sausage). Vegetables that accompany these meals are leafy green vegetables, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, and celeriac. Often, vegetables may be pickled, turning them into ogorek kiszony (salted sour cucumber) and sauerkraut (fermented cabbage).
Grains used in Polish cooking include wheat, and rye, kasha (buckwheat), while common flavor options feature dill, parsley, mustard, caraway, marjoram, and garlic. For those who want to make their own dressings, consider using sour cream, mayonnaise and/or vinegar in addition to any of the above-listed ingredients.
Polish feasts typically begin with an appetizer. The quintessential favorite is herring fish prepared in cream, oil, or aspic (gelatin stock). One might also serve cured fish. Vegetable salads, such as mizeria (salad with cucumbers in sour cream with dill) or coleslaw, can be used for those with vegetarian diets. Other dish options are to serve mashed potatoes, noodles, or kluski (dumplings). All of these options are great for serving on a cool afternoon.
Surprise second course
If it’s a particularly cold afternoon, make your Polish cooking experience enjoyable with a festive and traditional second course. This course typically takes place around lunchtime, but it also precedes that of the main dinner, which takes place in the mid-afternoon. Second-course meals consist of tomato, meat, or beet borscht (sour) soup. This customary soup is made by melting butter and adding beet, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery, and is served with dumplings stuffed with uszka (dumplings stuffed with mushrooms). One can add sour cream and dill to give the soup that unique sour taste.
Polish Main Meals
It is traditional for the Polish main meal to be eaten around 2 pm, rather than at supper time, while a light meal in the later evening replaces a large dinner. So, if you and your family enjoy having an early night, going out of your way to having the perfect, Polish cuisine will fit right in with your eating habits.
A popular main meal is called bigos. It is a stew of sauerkraut and meat, often including kielbasa, which can be made from farmed animals such as beef, pork, turkey, or lamb, or alternatively, from wild meats such as venison and rabbit. Another main meal featuring meat is named fillet z dorsza, which is a cod fillet with beer batter, served with mashed potatoes.
For vegetarian readers, pierogi (stuffed dumplings made from unleavened dough) can be made vegetarian by stuffing dumplings with sauerkraut, mushrooms, potato, cheese, or even blueberries, cherries, and apples. These can be topped with sour cream and/or sugar.
To end off your conquest for the perfect Polish feast, it is traditional to serve dessert as a fourth course. One dessert frequently served is called Macoweik, which is a poppy seed roll made of sweet yeast bread. This can also be filled with walnuts or chestnuts in addition to poppy seeds. Alternatively, one can serve drozdzowka (yeast cake), or, if guests are still hungry, flaki (a meat stew made from beef tripe, bay leaf, parsley, and carrot).
There are many options for drinks in Poland that are sure to suit any palate. A perennial favorite is to serve mead or beer. Another alcoholic option associated both with Russia and much of Eastern Europe, including Poland, is vodka. Finally, in the case of those who would like a much lower alcoholic option, there is Kvass (a fermented beverage made from rye bread, usually containing only 0.5% and 1% alcohol). Kvass can be flavored with strawberries, raisins, or mint.
Now that you’re an expert of the best Polish dishes, it’s time to get cooking! Impress your family with a refreshing meal that diverges from your daily cooking routine by incorporating foreign flavors and traditions into your dishes.