French Connections

Fasolka po bretonsku

This is Beans in a Breton style and is a very popular dish in Poland.

It is a dish of beans cooked with Polish sausage and smoked bacon in a tomato sauce.

When Lidl, the supermarket,  has a Polish Week they often have jars of this for sale.

I have done some research and can find lots of Polish recipes for this but not a single French or Breton recipe which is similar. So I cannot tell you why this typical Polish dish is associated with Brittany or France.

French Connections

There are however many, many connections with Poland and France – here are just a few:

  • Prince Henri de Valois (1551 – 1589) was elected King of Poland and reigned from 1573 to 1575. He resigned to become Henri III of France.
  • King Władysław IV Waza (1595 – 1648) – married the French Princess  Louse Marie Gonzaga
  • King Jan II Kazimierz Waza (1609 –1672) married Louse Marie Gonzaga when she became the widow of the King  Władysław IV Waza.
  • King Jan III Sobieski (1629 –1695) – married Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d’Arquien.
  • Stanisław Leszczński (1677-1766) was King of Poland and then became the Duke of Lorraine.
  • His daughter Maria Leszczyńska (1703-1768) became the Queen consort of Louis XV(1710– 1774) of France and was the Grandmother of Louis XVI (1754–1793).
  • Poland was an Ally of Napoleon (1769 – 1821) especially in the war against the Russians.

Many Poles went to live and work in France including:

  • Adam Mickiewicz (1798 – 1855) – poet
  • Fryderyk Chopin (1810 – 1849) – composer
  • Cyprian Norwid (1821 – 1883) – poet
  • Maria Skłodowska Curie (1867 – 1934) – scientist
  • André Citroën (1878-1935) – entrepreneur
  • Aleksander (Alexandre) Tansman (1897 – 1986) – composer
  • Tadeusz Baird (1928 – 1981) – composer

Ingredients

Note – these quantities do not have to be exact.

2 cans of beans (approx 420g each) (haricot, canellini  or barlotti)

200g smoked bacon

200g Polish sausage, (I used Toruńska and Śląska)

2 onions

3 tablespoons of tomato puree

500ml of hot water

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or marjoram

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika (can use hot paprika)

4 grains of allspice

2 – 3 bay leaves

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160°C.

Cut the bacon into small squares and fry them up.

Cut the onions into small pieces and fry these up.

Drain the beans and place them into an oven proof dish (one that has a lid).

Add the fried bacon and onions and mix together.

Slice the sausage and add this to the bean mixture.

Mix the tomato puree with the hot water and add the Italian herbs and paprika.

Pour this over the bean mixture and add the allspice and bay leaves and mix throughly.

Cook in the oven for several hours until the beans are soft.

This can be eaten as a dish on its own or served with bread.

Note

This is suitable for making in a slow cooker.

Beans – po staropolsku

Po staropolsku  means in an old Polish style and this often includes using  prunes and honey.

Originally this recipe would have been made with dried beans soaked overnight.

To make life easier I usually use tinned beans such as haricot, cannellini (white kidney beans) or black-eyed beans.

 

Haricot beans in Polish are called fasola jaś which means Johnny bean.  In the British TV comedy programme Mr Bean, which is very popular in Poland, our hero is called Jaś Fasola.

Ingredients

2 tins of beans (haricot, canellini or similar)

250g smoked  bacon

2 onions

12 soft – no need to soak – prunes

2-3 tablespoons of plain flour

3 tablespoons of honey

Sunflower oil for frying

Ground black pepper

Marjoram or Italian herbs

Quarters of lemon to serve

Method

Put the prunes in a dish and cover them with boiling water and leave for around 15 minutes.

Remove the prunes (save the liquor) and chop them into into quarters.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160°C

Chop the bacon into small squares and fry these up in a little sunflower oil.

Chop the onions into small pieces and add them to the bacon and fry them all up together.

Lightly brown the flour and add the liquor from the prunes and any more water needed to make a pourable sauce.

Add the fried bacon and onions, honey,  ground pepper and marjoram.

Drain the beans from the cans and put them into an oven proof dish (one that has a lid).

Add the bacon mixture to the beans and mix together.

Put the lid on the dish and cook in the oven for at least 1 hour,  I often cook this for a lot longer as I like the beans quite soft but take care that I top up the liquid if necessary.

Serve each portion with 1 or 2 quarters of lemon – the squeezed juice adds a little zest to beans.

Bean Salad

Bean Salad with Apple & Hard-boiled Eggs

As I was trying out some herring salads I came across the following mixture which worked so well together.  I decided it would make a good salad mixture on its own.

Originally this would have been made with soaked and then boiled haricot beans  – for ease I use a tin of baked beans from which the sauce has been washed off.

Ingredients

1 tin of haricot beans (tinned beans (410g) with the tomato sauce washed off , rinsed and patted dry).

1 thinly sliced then chopped onion

2 chopped (red skinned) apples

3- 4  chopped hard-boiled eggs

2-3 tablespoons of  mayonnaise ( full fat is the best here)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

 

 

Method

Prepare all the ingredients

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

You can sprinkle chopped flat-leaved parsley on top when serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Bean Fritters

The Polish for these is kotlety z fasoli  – cutlets from beans.

The word kotlety(plural) comes from the Italian word cotoletta(singular) for cutlet or chop.

Phaseolus vulgaris, common bean, originated from Central and South America, where it was cultivated as early as 6,000 BC in Peru and 5,000 in Mexico.  it was introduced to the Old World by the Spanish and the Portuguese.

It is a legume which means it is a plant that has its seeds contained in a shell or pod.

Most of the recipes in my books use dried beans and they are prepared by soaking them overnight and then boiling them for the required amount of time.

For ease I usually use tinned beans.

You can use haricot beans (wash off the sauce from baked beans), cannellini (white kidney) beans, butter beans and many others.

Ingredients

2 tins of beans

1 onion

butter for frying the onion

1 teaspoon of mixed herbs or Italian herbs

1 egg

1 – 2 tablespoons of potato flour

Dried breadcrumbs

Salt & ground black pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Chop the onion into small pieces and gently fry in butter.

Leave to cool completely.

 

 

 

 

 

Rinse and drain the beans from the tins.

 

 

Pat the beans dry with kitchen roll or a clean tea towel.

Mash the beans until you have a thick smooth paste.

 

Add the onions and the mixed herbs.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add the potato flour to make the mixture thick.

Add salt & ground black pepper

Cover a plate or board with dried breadcrumbs.

Make flattened balls from the mixture – coating them on all sides with breadcrumbs.

Fry the fritters in hot sunflower oil.

 

They can be kept warm in the oven whilst you cook them in batches.

They can be reheated in the oven at GM5 – 190°C – for around 15 minutes.

Bean Fritters with Peppers & Chilli

This is a variation on the above recipe – to the mixture as above you add – 2 chopped peppers & 1-2 medium chillies or 2-3 small chillies, which have all been softened by gently frying in some butter and then added to the onion mixture. You can also add some chilli flakes.

 

 

Continue as above

 

 

Both versions of these fritters go well with a crisp salad, salsa or a sauce such as tomato or mushroom.  They also go well with meat dishes in a sauce  such as gulasz, pulpety or chicken casserole.

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Polish Mixed Vegetable Salad

Before the days of shops that sell fresh and frozen produce all year round from all over the world, this salad could be made in the autumn and winter using bottled or tinned vegetables.

This salad is made using mainly cooked chopped vegetables and the aim is to make it colourful and to balance the colours and size of the ingredients.

The main three colours are white, green and orange.

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Salad in a Royal Doulton Dish – Carnation – 1982 to 1998

White

The white is achieved from: potatoes, celeriac or  white beans such as haricot or cannellini  or even tinned baked beans with the sauce rinsed off.

Green

The green is achieved from peas , whole green beans or gherkins. I use frozen peas or whole green beans.

Orange

The orange is achieved from carrots or bottled paprika.

The following salad was made from potatoes, carrots and whole green beans which were cooked before assembling.

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Steam the Potatoes and Carrots

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Boil or steam the whole green beans.

Once the vegetables have cooled then chop them into small pieces.

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Mix the vegetables together with several tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise – original or light – just enough to lightly coat the vegetables.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Variation 1

Add 2 hard boiled eggs which have been chopped to the salad.

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Mixed Vegetable Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs

Variation 2

Use Celeriac instead of potato.

Peel the celeriac then cut it up into large pieces and steam these – chop the cooked celeriac into smaller pieces when it has cooked and cooled.