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posted December 16, 2014 in category Discovering Wroclaw


Cooking Zone: Know Polish dishes

December is not only the time of Christmas Eve specials - we should not forget about the typical Advent-time dishes. Our winter dainties are worth trying - especially since we have a number of curiosities and excellent recipes. Hekele, sourdough for barszcz and almond soup - what do you say to that?
Traditional Polish Advent cuisine has an aroma of cinnamon, vanilla, ginger and clove. Advent rolls, filled with sweetmeats and made of buckwheat flour, are great example of a delicacy which used to be prepared at the beginning of December in every home - and in every home, there was a secret recipe for them. And if you like gingerbread, it is a great time to try ginger-filled cakes.  The selection is enormous, and the number of different kinds of ginger cakes is impossible to count. Fun fact: gingerbread was a Salv’s idea. It was prepared with honey of wild bees and soft wheat. And remember - the harder the cake, the better - that’s the feature of these cakes. The taste of a gingerbread depends on its leaven, whose value was so high in the past, that it was even included into the dowry of maids from thrifty households.

To become a Silesian!

December is not only a sweet, honey month. In Silesia, people prepare hekele - herring with mustard, egg and picles, as their Advent snack. If you would like to try this traditional specialty, check out this recipe:
6 salted herring fillets
2 hard-boiled eggs
2-3 pickles
1 small onion
Let the herrings rest in milk for a few hours. Then, dice them, as well as the eggs, pickles and onion. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and add mustard and pepper (as much as you like). It tastes best if you let it sit for a day. This Silesian dish may be eaten solo, or with bread or potatoes.

Christmas Eve is delicious

Barszcz z uszkami [beetroot soup with small dumplings filled with mushrooms], pierogi [Polish dumplings] with cabbage, and fish, a lot of fish - these are the traditional Polish Christmas Eve dishes. They taste best during Christmas, when prepared by mum or a grandma. And barszcz z uszkami is a true legend. The first recipe dates back to 16th century, but nowadays, every housewife has her own one. Aromatic, mushroom-y, or just plain - different depending on the house. And, obviously, again the taste depends on the sourdough. You can prepare your own base for barszcz, instead of buying the ready-made, less aromatic product. Here is the traditional recipe:
Sourdough for barszcz:
1.5 kg of red beetroot
3 l of boiled water
A bulb of garlic
Bay leaf
A slice of wholemeal bread
Wash the beetroots and dice or slice them. Add peeled and gently pressed garlic, bay leaf and water. Put a spoon of salt for each liter of water. Finally, add the slice of wholemeal bread - it is crucial for the pickling process. Keep it in a warm place for app. 6-7 days. It is important to prepare the sourdough in a glass jar or bowl and cover it with a clean cheesecloth.
In the past, there were more Christmas dishes, but in the majority of households nobody prepares them anymore. Almond soup is a great example of one - in the old, traditional, Polish cuisine it was an important delicacy. Beloved by the children, soft and sweet. Would you like to try it? The recipe is really easy:
Almond Soup
App. 100 g of almonds (possibly minced)
1.2 l of milk
Sugar or honey
App. 100 g of raisins
Orange peel - if you like it
Almond flakes

Blanch the almonds, roast and mince them. Now, add some sugar or honey and grind them together. Pour a liter of hot milk over the almonds, add cinnamon and cook together for 5 min. Add raisins and keep cooking on low heat for another 5 min, stirring form time to time. Prepare fluffy rice, cooking it with milk. Service: pour hot soup over a serving of rice, decorate it with almond flakes and orange peel. You can thicken the soup before serving by adding egg.
What do you think about our recipes? Will you try them? We can also share the special recipe for a Christmas Even barszcz, if you like :)

Author: Ewa Gumowska