Zrazy (this word is plural) is a meat dish popular in Eastern Poland & Lithuania and can be traced back to the 16th & 17th century in the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569 – 1795).
(I have seen zrazy translated as Meat Roll-ups, Meat Olives or Collops)
Classic zrazy have a rolled shape and are made of thin slices of beef, beaten with a mallet, which are stuffed with a variety of ingredients including mushrooms.
You need to use beef which is good for braising and slow cooking – I used a thin cut of topside and this worked very well.
The stuffed meat is rolled and secured with thread or thin string, then lightly fried and placed in a casserole dish with stock and slow cooked at a low temperature.
For the stock, I use chicken or vegetable stock (this can be from a stock cube or powder) and add bay leaves, whole peppercorns and sometimes whole allspice.
Prior to serving, the threads are removed.
Zrazy are eaten with the sauce in which they were cooked, though extra ingredients can be added to this such as soured cream, mushrooms or tomato.
You can add some cornflour to thicken the sauce.
Po nelsońsku – in Lord Nelson’s style – is when mushrooms and soured cream are added to the sauce. (I have not been able to discover why this name is used.)
Here served on Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
Zrazy are often served with buckwheat or boiled potatoes, and beetroot or sauerkraut salad.
Classic Ingredients for the Stuffing
There is no end to the variety of fillings you can use, the following are two traditional ones.
The amounts you need will vary according to how many zrazy you are filling – these are a guide to proportions.
Onions & Rye bread
1/2 slice of rye bread – made into breadcrumbs
1 onion – chopped and fried in butter till golden
1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds
Salt & pepper
You can spread a little made up mustard onto the meat first.
20g dried mushrooms – add around 250ml of boiling water and soak these overnight – chop into small pieces then simmer in the liquid.
1 onion – chopped and browned in butter till golden
Add the onion to the mushrooms and continue simmering till most of the liquid is gone.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
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