Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A dish for kings - Sour Milk with boiled potatoes

Witamy!  The weather is getting hot now and we’re turning our attention at lunch to some of the cool summer soups so popular in Polish cuisine. We love to visit area farmers markets and take advantage of the huge red strawberries, crimson cherries, plump blueberries -- all of which can be easily blended into healthy and refreshing soups.  They’re like milk shakes but with less sugar and calories. The basic recipe is in our book on page 38.  YUM!

Another classic summer dish I enjoyed immensely as a child is Sour Milk (Siadle Mleko), served with baby potatoes and fresh dill.  Before you turn up your nose, I promise that it really tastes good.  It has the tang of fresh yogurt, and the consistency and texture of a light pudding or flan.

There’s a great story told by my Mom, who was active in the Polish resistance, that during World War II, there was a small band of Polish resistance fighters who found themselves in France behind enemy lines. They were lost and exhausted from dodging the enemy.  A French farmer took them in and let them hide in his cow barn. That farmer, seeing that they were also famished, apologized and said that all he had was some potatoes in the field, a few left-over sprigs of dill in the garden, and a bucket of soured milk which he was using to feed his pigs.  The Polish soldiers, hearing this, started laughing hysterically and pounced on the bucket of sour milk.  You see, where they grew up in Poland this was a delicacy known as “a dish for kings” -- a bowl of sour milk enjoyed best with a small plate of buttered potatoes and dill.  Amazing!

Back in the day, this dish was made with unpasteurized milk.  But these days there is risk of germs or disease from consuming raw milk, so we strongly suggest that only pasteurized milk be used.

First, the milk has to be “cultured” to become thick and tart.  Pour 1 quart of whole milk into a glass or ceramic bowl (anything but metal); add ½ cup of sour cream OR 1 cup of cultured buttermilk.  Whisk or blend the mixture thoroughly.   Place the bowl into a very warm spot (80 degrees F is great) and let it stand for 24 hours or until thick.  Do not move or disturb the bowl while the milk is setting up.  When it thickens to the consistency of flan or a light pudding, place the bowl into the fridge and cool for half a day or so.  To serve, spoon it into serving bowls and serve with young white potatoes that have been sprinkled with butter and fresh chopped dill.  Smacznego!

Footnote:  we just made a bowl...kept it a full day in the warm garage,  and now it's ready!  Just had a spoonfull - tastes like fresh yogurt.  It's cooling in the fridge, can't wait to have it for lunch tomorrow.  p

1 comment:

  1. My neighbours for many years in adelaide were polish and german. Eventually the brought the polish man's father over to live. We were in adelaide, australia. He said his father was a peasant, and when I went over to get his daughter to walk to school , he would give me bowl of potatoes and sour milk a peasants meal from his father country home. I loved it they were lovely people ❤️