Rosół – Chicken Soup

This is my 200th post!

So it is fitting that this one is a Polish classic.

Rosół – Chicken Soup – must be the most well know of Polish soups and can be the basis for many others.

It is a clear soup which is known as a bouillonbulion in Polish. The word consommé which I thought was interchangeable with it, in fact denotes a clear soup which has been cleared with egg whites cooked in it.

Rosół is usually served with cooked pasta, often fine noodles and is the origin of chicken noodle soup.

In times gone by the chicken used would have been an old broiler – these are not as available here as much.  Nowadays for taste it pays to use the very best free range chicken you can get.

A whole chicken is simmered for around 2 hours with Wloszczyzna – Soup Greens.

I was talking with my Polish friend who likes in Leeds and she told me that the addition of  LubczykLovageLevisticum officinale leaves enhances the flavour.

I have this herb, which belongs to the celery & parsley family , growing in a pot in my garden but as it was still a bit early in the year when I made this, I have not been able to try this out – I must do so later!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 onion – halved (leave some dark skin on to add colour) or 2 leeks – trimmed
  • 3 whole peeled carrots
  • 2 whole peeled parsnips
  • Half a celeriac – peeled
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 2 -3 allspice grains
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Leaves & stalks of fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and lovage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Chopped parsley to serve

Method

  • Place all the ingredients into a large stock pot and cover with boiling water.
  • Bring it all to the boil and put on the lid.
  • Either lower the heat to let it all simmer or put the pot  into an oven at around GM 2 – 150°C.
  • Leave to simmer for around 2 hours until the meat is tender.
  • Remove the chicken.
  • Strain the soup.
  • Leave the liquid to cool and then place in a cold place or fridge preferably overnight.
  • Remove as much fat as possible from the top of the liquid.

Note

The soup should have some oczka – little eyes on the top – these are the fat droplets –  tastes have changed somewhat and less fat is prefered by many now.

To Serve

Heat up the soup gently to boiling and simmer for a few minutes.

Pasta & Noodles

This is the classic way of serving.

Very small pasta shapes or larger pasta cut into small pieces or noodles are all cooked beforehand and a small amount is placed in the soup dish and hot rosół poured over them to serve.

 

 

Chopped flat-leaved parsley is added on serving.

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998

 

You can add some of the cooked carrots, sliced, to the soup and/or some of the cooked chicken meat, chopped.

Uszka (Polish filled pasta) can be added and the convention is to add three or five uszka to each soup serving.

 

Note

The cooked chicken can be used in many dishes which require cooked chicken such as in the filling for pierogi.

I find that the meat is really tasty and succulent and makes super sandwiches with some mayonnaise.

Note

Rosół  is often used as the base of many other soups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pea Purée

Pea purée is a very old Polish recipe and in its simplest version yellow split peas with cloves or allspice & bay leaves are cooked till soft and  mashed. Nowadays a blender is more often used – I use my stick blender.

Whilst doing research for this recipe I found that it is very much like the old English recipe for Pease Pudding – Remember the old Nursery rhyme – Pease Pudding Hot, Pease Pudding Cold! –  this would have had nutmeg, cinnamon or saffron added.

Version 1

Ingredients

400g yellow split peas

1 large onion – peeled and cut in half

2 – 3 allspice grains or 2 cloves

4 -6 peppercorns

1 -2 bay leaves

Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

Method

Place the split peas, onion, allspice or cloves and the bay leaves into a large saucepan.

Cover with boiling water so that there is about 2cm of water above the ingredients.

Simmer  gently until the peas are soft and mushy – stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning – add a little hot water if it looks like it is cooking away too quickly.

Remove the spices and the bay leaf.

Purée the pea mixture – I use a stick blender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot – it goes very well with hot smoked sausages, bacon or ham hock.

Add skwarki (crispy bacon bits) or charred onion as a topping.

Version 2

Ingredients

400g yellow split peas

1 large onion

2 medium carrots

2 – 3 allspice grains or 2 cloves

4 -6 peppercorns

1 -2 bay leaves

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Method

Peel the carrots.

Place the split peas, carrots, onion, allspice or cloves and the bay leaves into a large saucepan.

Cover with boiling water so that there is about 2cm of water above the ingredients.

Simmer  gently until the peas and are soft and mushy and the carrots are soft, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning. – add a little hot water if it looks like it is cooking away too quickly.

Remove the spices and the bay leaf.

Puree the pea mixture – I use a stick blender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot – it goes very well with hot smoked sausages, bacon or ham hock.

Add skwarki (crispy bacon bits) or charred onion as a topping.

 

 

This tastes sweeter than version 1 because of the carrots.

Note

I used a slow cooker the second time I made this – it made it easieras it prevented burning or all the liquid cooking off to soon.

Leśny mech – Forest moss

 

A Polish Heritage Day was held in the Leeds Polish Centre on the first Saturday after 3rd May in 2017 & 2018.

The 3rd will take place on Saturday, 4 May 2019.

May 3rd  is Polish Constitution Day – a National Holiday in Poland to celebrate – Konstytucja 3 maja 1791.

This was the first  written constitution in Europe and the second in the World with the American constitution in 1789 being the first. It was very progressive for its time.

There was a hugh table with Polish cakes for sale – I contributed the iced poppy seed cake – makowiec on a glass stand in the middle of the photograph.

One of the ladies brought a cake I had never seen before which she told me was called Leśny mech – which means Forest Moss and it looked amazing as it was bright green!

Others certainly knew this cake and it very quickly disappeared!

I was amazed to find that the cake is made with spinach!

I have tried to find the origins of the cake as it is certainly not one my mother ever mentionned – all that I have found is that it is based on a Turkish cake – called  Ispanakli Kek (Spinach Cake).

Short History of Spinach

Spinacia oleracea is spinach & the plant originated in Persia (modern Iran), ispanakh in Persian &  ispanak in Turkish and szpinak in Polish.

Spinach was found in China by the early years of AD, where it is called Persian vegetable.

There are records of spinach in Spain by the 12th century.

Spinach came to England in the 14th century and was popular because it grew in the spring and helped to break the monotony of the Lenten diet.

Catherine de Medici who was from Florence in the 16th century married into the French royal family. She loved spinach  and the term which is used till this day – à la Florentine, which is used to signify a dish with spinach, was coined in her honour.

Leśny mech

Forest Moss – this cake with its amazing colours is meant to look like the forest floor with red berries growing.

I made this cake with 250g of  baby leaf spinach which gives a light green colour. I have read that if you use full leaf older spinach this gives a darker colour and has more flavour – I have not tried this yet.

I also know that you can use frozen spinach -400g of frozen – squeezed out and patted dry – but I have not tried this.

I used frozen raspberries for the berries – when it is later in the year I will use fresh raspberries or alpine strawberries from the garden or whinberries(bilberries) from the woods. Many people use pomegranate seeds when making this in the winter months.

Ingredients

  • 250g baby leaf spinach
  • 240g of  granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 185 ml sunflower oil (3/4 of  a 250ml cup)
  • 400g plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Grease and line the bottom of a loose-bottomed (or spring formed) cake tin – 26cm in diameter.

  • Use a mini-chopper/blender to whizz up the spinach – most likely in batches to get it all done.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder together.
  • Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence into a large bowl and use an electric whisk to whisk them together for 4 to 6 minutes till it is pale and fluffy.
  • Gently stir in the spinach.
  • Fold in the flour mixture.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin.
  • Bake on a lower shelf of the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.

 

  • Lightly shave off any golden brown edges of the cake with a sharp knfe or fine grater.
  • Cut off the top third of the cake and crumble it by hand into a bowl.

Place the bottom piece of the cake onto the serving plate or cake stand.

Optional

A sweet poncz (sweet punch for moistening the cake) can be used on the bottom layer.  You can make one from 60ml of cold weak black tea, the juice of 1 lemon and 1 – 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. Mix the ingredients together and use a pastry brush to spread it on the cake.

Now add a white filling!

Some recipes use whipped double cream, sweetened with icing sugar and set with gelatine. Other recipes make a filling with mascarpone.

I used my own yoghurt cheese – you can use cream cheese.

Filling Ingredients

Approximate amounts

  • 500g yoghurt cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence or fine grated rind of a lemon
  • optional – a couple of tablespoons of soured cream – depending on the cheese and how soft you want the filling

Method

Mix the ingredients together – adjusting the sweetness and consistency to taste.

Assembling the cake.

  • Place bottom layer on a plate or cake stand.
  • Brush on the poncz – optional
  • Spread on the white filling
  • Sprinkle the cake crumbs over the top of the cake to cover filling
  • scatter red berries over the top (do this later if not serving straight away)

To decorate – red colours – raspberries, whinberries (bilberries) alpine strawberries, pomegranate seeds

 

Making this cake gave me a chance to use the beautiful Lead Crystal Cake Stand, which was a present from my cousin in Lanchester. It was just right for this large cake.

Made by Nachtmann in Germany  – Tortenplatte (tort/gateau plate/ stand) – style name – Venus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plates used are La Prune by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

Cotton napkin with a design of rhubarb was bought from the Hepworth Gallery shop in Wakefield (Sadly – No longer in stock – as I wanted to buy some more!).

Turnips – 3 Ways!

White turnip – rzepa in Polish – is Brassica rapa, a root vegetable of the cabbage family.

 

3 Ways

  1. Raw & grated –  in a salad – surówka
  2. Cooked  & cold  – in a salad – sałatka
  3. Cooked & hot   – as a vegetable, side-dish with a meal

Raw & cooked, white turnip can be used instead of  celeriac or kohlrabi as in all of my posts:

Celeriac salads & More Celeriac salad recipes

Kohlrabi salads.

Various dressing can be used: lemon juice, soured cream, mayonnaise and yoghurt on their own or in various combinations.

Turnip, Carrot & Apple salad

Ingredients

2 Turnips

2 carrots

2  red skinned apples such as Braeburn or Pink Lady

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Method

Peel and coarse grate the turnips and carrots.

Core the apples and chop into small pieces.

Mix them all together wth the lemon juice.

 

Cooked Turnip Salad – 1

Ingredients

2 turnips

2 carrots

Around 100g of cooked frozen peas

2 -3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (full fat is best for cooked vegetables)

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Peel the turnips & carrots and steam them.

Chop them into rough cubes.

Mix them with the cooked peas and the mayonnaise

 

 

 

Cooked Turnip Salad – 2

As above with the addition of  3 to 4 chopped gherkins

 

Cooked Turnip – served hot

Peel and steam the turnip – not too much you do not want a watery pulp.

Rough mash the cooked turnip.

Serve hot with a variety of toppings.

Skwarki  – crispy smoked bacon bits

Chopped bacon is heated in a fryng pan until all the fat is released and the bacon pieces are crispy.

 

 

Slightly charred onion bits

Chopped onions are gently cooked in a little butter and then slowly heated until they are slightly charred.

 

 

Buttered breadcrumbs – à la polonaise.

 

 

Placek with Almonds

I stayed in Derbyshire (home of the Bakewell Tart) in 2018 and I came across a recipe for a cake using yoghurt which I adapted and this was posted as PlacekDerbyshire Inspired.

This is a variation I tried out using almonds.

I used Greek style full fat yoghurt – If using my own yoghurt I would strain it a little so it becomes thicker.

Ingredients

  • 250g butter or block margarine
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 150ml of Greek style yoghurt (full fat)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of almond essence
  • 230g self raising flour
  • 50g of ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Sour cherry jam or other slightly tart jam
  • 50g of flaked almonds

Method

  • Grease and line 22 x 32 baking tin – use 1 piece of greaseproof to do the 2 long sides and base.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Place the flaked on a tray and pop them under the grill for a few minutes to toast them.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Mix together the yoghurt, eggs and almond essence
  • Mix together the flour, ground almonds and the baking powder.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar .
  • Add the yoghurt, egg and essence mixture and beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat till you have a unified smooth mixture.
  • Using a big spoon and spatula put the mixture into the prepared tin.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully take the cake out of the oven and place large teaspoon ‘blobs’ of jam on the top – I did 12 teaspoons at even intervals.
  • Cover the top with the toasted almonds and quickly put it back in the oven.

 

 

  • Bake for around another 25 – 30 minutes.

 

 

  • Place on a cooking rack and leave until it is cold to take out of the tin.
  • Cut into squares or rectangles to serve.

 

 

Served on teaplates by Wedgwood, Hathaway Rose  – 1959 -1987

 

 

 

Żurek – Sour Rye Soup

Sour is a word to describe a lot of Polish food – it is a taste well-loved by Poles!

Often this sour comes from lactic acid which is made during fermentation by Lactobacillus bacteria to produce such foods as: gherkins, sauerkraut, sourdough, soured cream, soured milk and yoghurt.

Żurek is a soup made with sour rye (zakwas) as a base.

Water is added to rye flour or rye bread and it is allowed to ferment for a few day.  In olden times this soup was often made on the same day as rye bread was being made.

Nowadays you can buy  żurek starter or zakwas in the Polish supermarkets and this is what I use, (one day I will make my own) and it tastes very good.

My mother never made this soup and in fact I had not heard of it until my Polish cousin’s daughters worked in a Polish restaurant in London in the 1990s and I had some there.

It is often cooked with smoked bacon and Polish sausage – kiełbasa – and then served with quartered or chopped hard boiled eggs.

Some people serve this at the Easter breakfast using the sausage and hard-boiled eggs which have been blessed on Easter Saturday.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of Żurek concentrate
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 medium boiled potatoes (waxy type can be better but not essestial)
  • 2 medium boiled carrots.
  • 50 – 100g of smoked bacon
  • 100-150g of Polish sausage*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns & 3-4 allspice grains
  • 4-5 tablespoons of soured cream(optional – but worth it)
  • Season as necessary but the bacon and sausage usually provide enough salt.

****

Hard boiled eggs to serve – at least one per person

*I used Torunska but you can use any sort  – even hot dog type sausages – a sausage called biały (white)(one that is boiled normally) is often used and this gives another name to the soup – biały barszcz – white barszcz (red barszcz being beetroot soup)

Method

  • Peel the carrots and parboil them whole.
  • Parboil the potatoes.
  • Once cooled, chop the carrots and potatoes.
  • Chop the onion roughtly.
  • Chop the bacon into little squares.
  • Chop the sausage into small pieces.
  • Use a large pan and add all the ingredients
  • Add water to cover the vegetables & half to three quarters fill the pan.
  • Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer for a couple of hours.

Chop the hard boiled eggs into long quarters or roughly chop them.

Pour the soup into dishes and place the quarters on top or scatter the chopped egg on top.

Żurek with just vegetables

In olden times when fasting & abstinence in Lent was much more strict, many people did not eat meat or eggs in Lent.

Many lived on a very meagre diet of meatless żurek with hardy any vegetables and there was often a ceremony of burying the żurek at the end of Lent.

This recipe is not as meagre as that, it is made with lots of vegetables and served with hard-boiled eggs or rye bread croutons.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of Żurek concentrate
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 leeks
  • 3 medium potatoes (waxy type can be better but not essential)
  • 2-3 medium carrots
  • 2 kohlrabi*
  • 1/2 a celeriac*
  • 1 white turnip*
  • 2 parsnips*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns & 3-4 allspice grains
  • 125 – 250ml of soured cream
  • Flat-leaved parsley -small bunch chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon – optional

*Depends on what is available – try and have at least 2 of these root vegetables & adjust the amounts to suit what you can get.

I think the sweetness in the root vegetables counteracts some of the sourness of the sour rye, so I add lots of soured cream & sometimes some lemon juice.

Hard boiled eggs to serve – at least one per person or rye bread croutons.

Method

  • For all the root vegetables, peel as necessary – you can parboil or steam them if that makes them easier to prepare.
  • Chop the root vegetables into rough cubes.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Add all the vegetables & onion to a large pan or stockpot of water.
  • Add the żurek concentrate.
  • Add the bay leaf, allspice and peppercorns.
  • Add some of the parsley
  • Add water to cover the vegetables & half to three quarters fill the pan.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for around two hours until the vegetables are soft or place in a low oven for several hours.
  • Gently stir in the soured cream – whisk a little if it starts to go into lumps.
  • Season to taste.
  • Add some lemon juice to the required sourness!
  • Sprinkle in the rest of the parsley.

To serve – add the quartered or chopped hard-boiled eggs on top,  or the rye bread croutons.

 

Served in soup plates  – Glenwood by Crown Devon Fielding, Made in England.

These are the only 3 left from my Mama.

I think she must have had 8 or even 12, they are there in memories of my childhood with lots of people sitting around the table.

I have read that they were produced from 1939 -how my Mama aquired these I do not know!

Kopytka z serem- Cheesy Potato Dumplings

I wrote about kopytka – Polish potato dumplings a good while back.

Since then I have tried another version which uses cheese as well as potatoes.

Traditional recipes use twaróg – Polish curd cheese – I have found that crumbly, white, mild, English cheeses such as: Cheshire, Lancashire or Wensleydale are also good.

Whilst looking at many recipes, I saw that the proportions of boiled potatoes to cheese varied greatly.

I have gone for roughly equal weights of boiled starchy potatoes to cheese.

The exact amounts are not critical but you must use starchy potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper.

IMG_20150910_122355675

Serve with either melted butter, à la Polonaise (buttered breadcrumbs) or skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) or a hot sauce such as mushroom.

Ingredients

  • 300g of boiled starchy potatoes
  • 300g of twaróg (curd cheese) or white, crumbly cheese such as Lancashire
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 160 – 200g of plain flour
  • Salt
  • Oil to add to water for boiling

Method

Use a large bowl and put the cold boiled potatoes into the bowl.

Crumble the cheese and add it to the potatoes and mash them both together.

Add the yolks to the mixture.

Add a little salt.

Weigh out the flour to give an idea of how much is needed; this will depend on the type of potato and the size of the eggs.  Add the flour and mix first with a wooden spoon and then by hand, you might not need all the flour or you may need more. Mix until you have a soft dough.

Divide the dough into quarters and using a floured board shape the dough and roll it with you hands until you have a long sausage about 3cm in diameter.  If the dough sticks to the board then you need to add more flour.

Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into pieces, make the first cut at a diagonal and make the thickness about 1 to 1.5cm. You will get a sort of oval shape.

Repeat this with the rest of the dough.

Fill a large pan with water, add some salt and bring this to the boil.

When the water is boiling, add the dumplings one by one, do not over fill the pan or they will stick together. I tend to do this in 4 batches.

As they cook they will float to the surface, give them about another minute and then remove them with a slotted  or a perforated spoon and put them in a colander. I have a colander sitting in an empty pan by the side of the large pan in which I am boiling the dumplings.

IMG_20151020_094418143

 

 

 

 

 

I find that the maximum from putting  them into the water to taking them out will be 3 minutes, if you cook these too long they will start to fall apart.

Served on –

  • Royal Douton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
  • J & G Meakin – Topic – around 1967
  • Wedgwood – Chelsea garden – early 21st century.

Here served as suggested above with  melted butter, with skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) and a gulasz.