Sunday, November 6, 2022

Cabbage Roll Soup


Autumn leaves in brilliant hues of yellow, orange and red are carpeting our lawns.  The air has a bit of chill and some places across the US have already had their first snow fall.  With colder temperatures our thoughts turn to comforting soups and stews.  After raking leaves all day,  everyone is ready for a warm and filling dish.  Our Polish Classic Recipes Cookbook is full of soups, stews and other cold weather comfort dishes you might like to try. Soups like Polish Sour Soup (p.34), Christmas Dried Mushroom Soup (p.37), Dill Pickle Soup (p. 41) and Hunter's Stew (p.45). Pair any of these dishes with a crusty bread and your favorite wine for a delicious meal.

This fall I decided to transform my cabbage roll recipe into a soup.  Making Cabbage Roll Soup provides all the luscious flavors of my cabbage rolls without all the rolling and the long cook time.  The soup ingredients include the usual elements, cabbage, onion, tomato sauce, rice, ground beef and pork.  While the soup is simmering your kitchen will be filled with a heavenly aroma.  


Cabbage Roll Soup

1 large diced onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 head of cabbage (approximately 3 pounds), coarsely chopped

1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes

4 cups of beef broth

8 ounces tomato sauce (Use the following recipe for my Grandma's sauce or use store bought)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, fry the onion in butter or bacon fat until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Mix the onion and garlic mixture with the beef and pork and season well with salt and pepper.

Make tiny meatballs with the meat mix and brown. (Or you make choose to just brown the meat mixture.)  Remove the meatballs and set aside.  

Add cabbage to your pot and cook until soft. Add the diced tomatoes, beef broth and tomato sauce to the pot and bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low. Return your meatballs to the soup pot.  Cover the pot and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.

Add the cooked rice to the pot and continue to simmer until rice is warmed.

Grandma's Tomato Sauce

1 14 ounce can plum tomatoes

1/2 cup of butter

Salt and pepper

In a sauce pan , bring the tomatoes and butter to a boil.  Break up the tomatoes as they cook.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the tomato butter mixture until it thickens.  This may take 20-30 minutes.

Blend mixture on low in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

On June 2, 2022, my husband, Peter, lost his long battle with cancer. His last few days were spent peacefully at home under hospice care surrounded by his family. This blog was a very special project for him. He enjoyed sharing his love for Polish food and culture and he loved hearing from all our followers. Many thanks to all of you for the love you showed both of us over the years as we traveled to various programs and festivals.
This Friday, September 23, would have been Peter's 75th birthday and the family has chosen this time to celebrate his life with our close friends. The menu will include some of his favorite foods including gołąbki and his favorite birthday dessert, Walnut Torte. There, without a doubt, will be many toasts and shots of Polish vodka. Our family hopes that all of our followers will raise a glass in remembrance of this man who is greatly missed.

The recipe for the Walnut Torte can be found on page 86 of Polish Classic Recipes.

Please stayed tuned. I would like to continue the blog but it may take me a while to figure it all out. Most of my time was spent cooking and baking the recipes that were posted but Peter was the wizard behind the blog. Hope to see all of you soon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

 Wesołych Świąt (Happy Easter)! 

Our Easter menu has remained pretty much the same through four generations and over 70 years since the Zeranski’s emigrated from Europe.  For 2022 it will be again be a blend of Polish traditional delicacies with some American favorites – all intended to please our family’s diverse palates. 

Poles the world over love their Easter sweets, many of which can be found in our book: Polish Classic Desserts. 

The cornerstones of the main menu are always platters of traditional sliced ham, kielbasa, roast pork and more.  

On the side we sip traditional peppery Barszcz (clear beet broth).  The combination of sweet and peppery flavors balance so well with the rustic garlicky kielbasa and more delicate vegetables. 

For dessert Laura always has such a hard time choosing between the traditional Babas, Cheesecakes or Mazurkas.  Everyone’s mouths are already watering intensely with the anticipation of this meal.

As we start to make our plans for this wonderfully traditional Easter meal, we quickly understand that a couple of sauces to garnish the cold sliced meats, are the true difference-makers that elevate the feast to the next level.   These are classics and easy to prepare ahead of time.  A dollop or two on your plate, right next to the ham and kielbasa, will kick the flavors up and make the meal truly memorable…until next year.  

Mustard Sauce   (Makes 1 cup)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 cup sour cream
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon sugar

Mix all ingredients well. Chill well.   

Green Onion Sauce   (Makes 1 ½ cups)
1 cup sour cream
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
4 tablespoon chopped green onions
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients.  Chill well.  

Beets & Horseradish   (Makes 2 cups)
2 14.5 ounce cans beets (not pickled), drained & rough-chopped 
5 ounces prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine all ingredients, place in an airtight sealed container.  Best after 24 hours.  We often add an ounce or two of more horseradish just before serving for an even stronger kick.   

Dill Pickle Sauce   (Makes 3 cups)
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons instant flour
½ cup beef stock or bouillon (hot)
3 large dill pickles, shredded
½ cup dill pickle liquid from the jar
½ cup sour cream
Salt to taste

Mix butter with flour over low heat. Gradually stir in the hot bouillon and then the pickle juice. Bring to a light boil, stirring constantly. Add the pickles and sour cream.  Heat, but do not boil. Add salt to taste.  Serve warm.