Sunday, November 21, 2021

Thanksgiving With a Polish Twist

 Witamy!

American Thanksgiving is this week.  The stores are mostly stocked up with all the traditional ingredients and there’s definitely a hint of excitement building in the air as the temperatures drop into fall and we’re starting to salivate over that turkey to come.   

Truth be told, Thanksgiving is not a classic Polish tradition.  But it is catching on and there is no reason why we can’t add a Polish twist to our own feast at home.  In fact, after many years of traditional Thanksgiving dinners, adding a Polish twist is a pretty attractive idea.  This Turkey recipe comes from Peter's Mom and is a variant on one from her book, The Art of Polish Cooking.  And if you really want to get out of the box, try it with a duck or goose.  And the two salads below are classic Polish salads that will pair very well with your bird – regardless of its DNA.  Smacznego!  


Roast Turkey with Sweet Stuffing

One turkey, 14 – 16 pounds
½ cup butter, melted
Your turkey’s liver, chopped
Salt

Stuffing
6 slices white bread 
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons brandy (optional) 
Your turkey’s liver, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs separated
½ cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons almonds, peeled and slivered
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon sugar
One dash Allspice
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 cup of breadcrumbs

Preheat your oven to 450°F.  Soak the bread in the milk and squeeze out the liquid well.   Add the brandy, butter, egg yolks raisins, almonds and spices.  Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Fold into the stuffing mix a scoop at a time, alternating with the bread crumbs. Mix lightly. 


Image courtesy of Thermoworks
Stuff the neck and body cavities and close with skewers. Brush with butter.  Place the bird on a roasting rack in its pan, breast down, in the center of the oven.  Reduce the oven temp to 325°F and roast about 15 minutes per pound until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Baste skin frequently with the drippings.  Sprinkle skin with salt about half way. 
 Be sure to use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness (160 degrees) making sure the probe is set in the thigh and not in the stuffing.

There are a ton of recipes out there for roasting turkey -- your favorite method will be great, as long as you use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.  

For the Polish twist, serve your bird with Cabbage & Apple Salad, Polish Vegetable Salad,  and roasted potatoes sprinkled with butter & dill.


Cabbage & Apple Salad 
1 small head red cabbage, shredded
2 apples, cored, peeled and shredded
Juice of 2 lemons
4 tablespoons sugar
Boil the shredded cabbage in salted boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes.  Drain & cool.  Combine the lemon juice and sugar to make a dressing.  Toss the cabbage and apples with the dressing.  Cool well before serving.

Polish Vegetable Salad
4 cups cooked, diced potatoes
4 cups frozen mixed vegetables, cooked and drained
2 cups frozen peas, cooked and drained
3 large dill pickles, diced (optional)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped


Mix the potatoes with the vegetables, pickles, onions and dill.  Season with salt and pepper.

Mix mayonnaise with sour cream and mustard.  Combine dressing and vegetable mixture.

Chill thoroughly.  Arrange salad in a pretty bowl.  Sprinkle top with the chopped or sliced egg. A few slices of radish and sprigs of dill will add a nice touch of color.  

Monday, October 11, 2021

Creative Apple Desserts - Polish Style

 Witamy!


It’s apple time!  Local orchards are full and ready for picking.  Our farmer’s markets are overflowing with many varieties of fresh picked apples including those “not-so-pretty” local varieties. In fact Peter just read about one orchard featuring “heirloom apples”...yes, they were deformed and misshapen, but apparently just delicious. 

There’s an apple orchard just up the road and their apple cider barrels are brimming with fresh and tangy, amazing cider - if you can swat the bees away which are looking for a treat as well.  We’ve always preferred the fresh pressed, unpasteurized, straight-out-of-the-barrel kind because the taste is so much more intense. 

Apples are an important part of Polish cuisine and here are two favorite desserts that Peter’s Mom made for him every fall.

Apple and Rice Delight
Serves 6
    4  cups, semi-tart, peeled, cored and shredded apples  (use those ugly local ones, because they taste great, are often cheapest and most plentiful, and they support your local produce farms.) 
    1  tablespoon cinnamon
    1/2  cup brown sugar
    cups cooked rice, not precooked or instant rice
1½ cups sour cream
4     tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  In a bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar with the shredded apples and mix well.
Grease a 9-inch baking dish (or glass pie pan)  and spread out the rice and apples in the pan , in alternating layers  (rice/apples/rice/apples/rice) .
Cover and bake for 40 minutes.  In the mean time, whisk the sour cream and sugar into a sauce and set aside.
Let the dish cool down a bit.  Serve warm in small bowls, topped with the sweet sour cream sauce. 
Note:  the top layer of rice may get a little crunchy, but that gives it a great texture.

Stuffed Apples  (Serves 6)
·       3 tablespoons honey
·       3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
·       3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
·       2 tablespoons orange liqueur  *
·       6 medium apples  (sweet, not tart)
·       3 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  Mix the honey with the walnuts, cracker crumbs and liqueur  * or substitute with 2 tablespoons orange juice plus ½ teaspoon orange zest.    Cut the tops off the apples and core to remove the seeds.  Fill the holes with the stuffing.  Top with ½ teaspoon of butter and cover with the apple tops.    Place close to one another in a baking dish and bake for 1 hour.  Serve warm.  Maybe with a scoop of ice cream to be really awesome.
Smacznego!

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Summer Salmon Salad - Polish Style

 Witamy!

Canned salmon!  Yes indeed, canned salmon has a place in every pantry. It has more flavor than canned tuna and offers a world of options for a light healthy meal when time is short or you’ve had a hard day and your energy tank is running on fumes. 


This was a favorite dish of Peter’s Mom’s and it really should be in your file of favorite recipes.  It's a perfect summer plate when you don’t feel like preparing a more complicated or involved meal.  

The fishing industry in Poland is growing rapidly as eating fish is 
becoming even more popular.  Baltic salmon is a unique Polish specialty item.  Unlike fatty farm-raised salmon, its firm flesh is only slightly pink (after cooking it is nearly white).  Whether cooked or smoked, wild salmon provides amazing taste sensations far superior to the farmed varieties.  It is available in cans and can be also eaten raw when salted.  Have you ever tried Polish canned salmon and what did you think of it?  We’ve not tried it in the U. S. but will look for some on the next visit to our favorite Polish Deli.  Laura likes the Kirkland brand canned salmon (packed in water) from Costco but any brand will work. 

Serves 8
16 ounces canned, wild salmon, drained and crumbled
2 cups young potatoes, boiled & sliced thinly
1 cup mayonnaise
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 tablespoon scallions or green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

This is not one of those recipes where you mix everything in a bowl and serve.  This is prettier.  The only prep is to arrange all the ingredients in layers, so how easy is that?  On the bottom of a serving platter, spread the potatoes in a flat layer.  Second, spread a healthy layer of the crumpled salmon over the potatoes. Third, spread a very light layer of the mayonnaise over the salmon.  Cover with alternating slices of tomato and the egg – show off your wild side and be creative!  

Sprinkle the chopped green onions, and lastly sprinkle generously with chopped dill. Dill is so important in Polish cuisine!  And now you can find it as fresh as can be  at many Farmers Markets. Chill for an hour and serve on lettuce leaves.  A glass of dry white wine or fresh iced tea would pair very nicely with this beautiful salad.   
Smacznego!