Gulasz

The word gulasz comes from the Hungarian gulyás and is the word for a casserole or stew.

In Hungary the meat would most likely have been beef but in Poland it is either pork or beef.

When beef is used it is usually called węgierski  – Hungarian style.

As stewing steak used to be more readily available in England than casserole pork my mother made this with beef.

I make this with either beef or pork, both are delicious as the slow cooking and tomato purée give an intense rich flavour.

Classic Gulasz

Ingredients

500g stewing beef or shoulder or spare rib pork

2 onions

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of tomato purée

250ml chicken stock – can be made from stock cubes

2 teaspoons of (sweet) paprika (not smoked)

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons of plain flour

salt & ground black pepper

oil for frying

 

Method

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 3 – 1600C

Roughly chop the onions and crush the garlic.

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Mix the tomato purée and the paprika into the stock.

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Cut the meat into cubes and coat the pieces in a mixture of flour, salt and ground pepper.

Beef Coated in Plain Flour, salt & pepper
Beef Coated in Plain Flour, salt & pepper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a frying pan heat the oil until it is hot and fry the meat until all the sides are sealed.

 

Place the meat into a casserole dish.

Fry the garlic and onions in the frying pan, adding some oil if necessary but trying not to use too much or the dish will be greasy.

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Add the onions to the meat then add the bay leaf and some more ground pepper.

Pour the stock mixture into the casserole dish and put on the lid.

 

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Cook in the oven until the meat is tender, this could be about 3 ½ hours  to  4 ½ hours but often I find it needs  longer.

Classic Beef Gulasz

 

Serve with potatoes, hefty style pasta or boiled rice as well as salads such as:

If served on top of a large, breakfast plate sized potato pancake this is known as a

węgierski placek  – Hungarian pancake.

Tip

Make this a day ahead of when you need it, cook the dish for at least 3 hours and leave it to cool.

The next day cook it again for at least 1 hour, you might have to add a little water or stock but not too much, the sauce should be thick not watery.

Using a slow cooker

Nowadays I often make gulasz using a slow cooker instead of the oven.

I made a gulasz using pork shoulder and cooked it in the slow cooker for 8 hours.

 

 

 

Pork gulasz served in a dish by J & G Meakin Studio Pottery

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Luxury Style Gulasz 

All houses in Poland have cellars and even people living in block of flats have a cellar area of their own; if you ever get the chance to look in these you will find that they are filled with: jams, preserves, bottled fruit and vegetables, sauerkraut and salted gherkins.

Bottled sweet red peppers in brine are often found amongst these jars.  The addition of the peppers from one of these jars to the gulasz makes it even better.

Of course if like me you do not have the home-made variety you can buy these from most delicatessens or supermarkets now.

One Of My Two Cellars

 

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You can use fresh red peppers and I use these when they are plentiful, either will make a delicious gulasz but I think I like ones with the bottled peppers best.

The recipe is a variation on the classic gulasz but you have to use less stock or you will end up with it being too watery due the water content of the peppers – especially the fresh ones.

Ingredients

500g stewing beef  or shoulder or spare rib pork

2 onions

2 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons of tomato purée

150ml chicken stock – can be made from stock cubes

2 teaspoons of (sweet) paprika (not smoked)

1 bay leaf

Jar of bottled red peppers or 3 to 4 fresh red peppers

2 -3 tablespoons of soured cream

2 tablespoons of plain flour

Salt & ground black pepper

Oil for frying

Paprika to dust on the top

Method

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 3 – 1600C

Roughly chop the onions and crush the garlic

Mix the tomato purée and the paprika in the stock

If using the bottled peppers cut them into long strips and then cut these into halves

 

If using the fresh peppers, cut them into long strips, de-seed them and cut these into halves

Cut the meat into cubes and coat the pieces in a mixture of flour, salt and ground pepper

In a frying pan heat the oil until it is hot and fry the meat until all the sides are sealed

Place the meat into a casserole dish

Fry the garlic and onions in the frying pan, adding some oil if necessary but trying not to use too much or the dish will be greasy

Add the onions to the meat then add the bay leaf and some more ground pepper

Add the peppers to the dish and mix the contents together

Pour the stock mixture into the casserole dish and put on the lid

 

Cook in the oven until the meat is tender, this could be about 3 ½ to 4 hours but often I find it needs longer.

 

 

 

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When you are ready to serve the gulasz, mix in one to two tablespoons of soured cream and then put the other tablespoon of soured cream on top in the centre and dust some extra paprika on this.

 

 

Serve as for the classic style gulasz.

Here served in a dish by J & G Meakin – Topic from 1967

 

 

 

 

 

Pulpety – Polish Meatballs

The Polish word pulpety comes from the Italian word polpette & that word come from  polpa meaning pulp.

The word polpette has been used in Italy  since the 15th century – though of course meatballs in many forms are to been found in most cultures & countries  and are a way of using every last piece of carcass.

Pulpety in Poland are made from meat or fish – I am just going to cover meat in this post.

Meat pulpety can be made from fresh meat or from cooked meat.  I prefer the fresh meat ones and if I have any  roast meat leftovers I am more likely  to use them up in other ways such as in  Pierogi – Polish Filled Pasta  fillings.

Fresh meat pulpety are very similar to  kotlety mielone.

The difference being that pulpety are very small and they are boiled/simmered not fried.

They are often used as an  accompaniment for soup – with around 4 to 6 being added to a serving of  soup. (There will be much more on the  topic of soup in the future.)

Pulpety can be simmered in water or stock  – I always uses stock – either chicken or vegetable.

Meat pulpety

Ingredients

400g of minced beef or pork or a mixture of the two

1 onion

1 slice of white bread or bread roll, left for half an hour in a bowl with a little milk – do not use the excess milk just the wet slightly squeezed bread.

1 beaten egg

1 teaspoon Italian herbs

Dried breadcrumbs – see Breadcrumbs – Bułka tarta

Salt & pepper

Some flour for your hands for shaping.

Stock / bullion – chicken or vegetable – can be from a stock cube.

Method

Grate the onion on a fine grated or use an electric mini-chopper.

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In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together except for the dried breadcrumbs, it is best to do this using both hands, making sure that all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

 

Add enough dried breadcrumbs so that it is a firm mixture.

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Put some flour in a dish for your hands to make it easier to shape the pulpety.

Pinch off small bits of the meat mixture and roll the piece between your hands to make small round balls and place these onto a floured board or tray whilst you make them all.

You can leave these to chill in a cool place or in the fridge if you have time.

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In a large pan heat up some stock and drop the pulpety into the boiling liquid and then let them simmer for around 5 minutes.

 

 

Remove them from the liquid with a slotted spoon.

 

 

Polish style would be to have around 5 pulpety in a bowl of soup –  but  often I do these for a light lunch and have a large bowl of soup with lots of pulpety per serving.

In the photograph below, they were served in a tomato soup.

 

 

Served In A Sauce

The varieties here are endless – make one of your favourite sauces for example mushroom or tomato and drop the cooked pulpety into the sauce and let them simmer.

You can then serve them with potatoes, pasta, rice or to be very Polish – buckwheat.

 

Kotlety mielone

There is a little bit of linguistic confusion with this dish – I have noticed it in most translations for this recipe.

Kotlety is the Polish word for cutlets or chops as discussed in my  last post.

Mielone means minced – so kotlety mielone are what in the USA are called meat patties or now in England as burgers.

My mother called both dishes kotlety – I would realise from the ingredients as to which dish  was being prepared in the kitchen.

We had kotlety mielone once a week at home, any left would be heated up in a sauce, often mushroom, the next day.

In Poland they would have been made with minced pork but previously this  was hard to get  and my mother found it hard work to use a hand mincer, so she made hers with minced beef using the beef that the butcher would mince for her.

In her original recipe she would use an onion which was grated finely; this was the job that was often delegated to me!  Later on she changed her recipe and would chop up the raw onion finely and fry this up lightly and let it go cold before adding it to the mince mixture.  I now like this second version better, but both are good and you can even do half and half.

Nowadays I  use an electric mini chopper to “grate” the onion.

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I used beef in this recipe for years and then tried pork, and also half and half; I like the ones half and half the best,  however I always make sure it is lean pork mince.

Ingredients

500g minced beef or pork, or 250g of each

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1 beaten egg

1 slice of white bread or bread roll, left for half an hour in a bowl with a little milk – do not use the excess milk just the wet slightly squeezed bread

 

1 onion finely grated, or chopped and fried till golden brown and left to cool. (or half and half)

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1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or similar

Salt

Ground black pepper

Dried breadcrumbs – home made see Breadcrumbs – Bułka tarta

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together except for the dried breadcrumbs, it is best to do this using both hands, making sure that all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

If the mixture seems too wet then add a tablespoon full of dried breadcrumbs and mix this in.

Pour some dried breadcrumbs onto a large plate or board.

Try to make each one the same size, take a handful of the mixture and press it between your hands to make a flattened circle and then place this in the dried breadcrumbs and turn it over to cover both sides and edges.

Once coated place them on a tray dusted with breadcrumbs until you have used all the mixture up.

Shallow fry the kotlety in hot oil, depending on the frying pan size,  you can do 3 to 4 at a time, turning them over so that both sides are done. Place them on kitchen roll on a plate or metal tray till they are all cooked –  you can keep them warm in a low oven.

I usually serve them with creamy mashed potatoes or lightly buttered boiled rice.

Here they are served with a beetroot & apple salad see  Buraki – Buraczki – Beetroots – Beets.

I also like them with any sauerkraut or cabbage salad see  Sauerkraut Salads  and  Cabbage Salad.

Variations

Sometimes I add some finely chopped peppers or chillies to the mixture and serve them with boiled rice.

You can make the kotlety with minced chicken or turkey.

In Poland many people think that ones made with minced veal are the best.

Jasia’s  Variations

My cousin  Janina (Jasia is the diminutive) in her farm house in the Mazurian lakes in North East Poland made some kotlety mielone which had an addition to the usual recipe. Each one had a small piece of  stuffing inside.  The meat recipe was the same as was the method of cooking but when she was making them, she placed a little extra at the centre and this added an extra dimension to an old favourite.

The stuffing she used  was one of the following:

A cube of cheese – the type which will melt like Gouda or cheddar

A chunk of pickled gherkin.

A thick slice of fried mushroom.

The Next Day

You can eat any kotlety you have left, cold with mustard and any salad.

However if I have any kotlety  left, I often re-heated them in a sauce in the oven, my favourite is mushroom sauce.

I often just make a very quick sauce by frying up some sliced mushrooms in a little butter, adding some stock (mushroom or chicken – made from a stock cube). Add the kotlety  into the pan and heat them through in the oven for around 1 hour.

 

Add some soured cream mixed with a tablespoon of corn flour and out this back in the oven for a while or continue heating it on a top burner.

Super served with creamy mashed potatoes – sprinkle chopped dill or parsley over them before serving.

 

Served on Carnation (1982 – 1998)  by Royal Doulton.

Gołąbki – Cabbage Rolls

 

Kuchnia Polska - Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

My Polish Cookbook “bible”

A Selection of Polish Cookbooks
A Selection of Polish Cookbooks

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IMG_20150715_181051975IMG_20150715_182325856Gołąbki are made using  fresh cabbage and the name means little pigeon or dove. This name comes about from its size and shape and also from to the idea of this being a little delicacy.

The cabbage leaves are used to make a little parcel with a meat and rice filling and these are then cooked in a liquid stock or sauce.

I have read that this is a very old dish which originally came from the Byzantine Empire and was made with vine leaves, as it came north; cabbage leaves replaced the vine leaves.

The main 3 ingredients are: cabbage, rice and minced meat, and you also need a liquid to cook them in, which in my mother’s case was always a stock with tomatoes.

You can use white or Savoy cabbage. White cabbage has softer more pliable leaves and I think make the best  gołąbki . Savoy cabbage has firmer leaves that are easier to work with but take longer to cook; these can be easier for a novice to use.

You need a large head of cabbage to get large leaves.

You can use any type of rice but the stickier types are the best.

The traditional Polish version uses pork.  My mother used beef as this was more readily available in England.  Now that minced pork is more  available and you do not have to hand mince it, I use either or even mix the two.

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There are many variations using, fresh or dried mushrooms, buckwheat instead of rice, and a stock without tomatoes.  In fact buckwheat is a more older version as it grows in Poland and rice would have to be imported.

This recipe is my mother’s and for me this is just right!

Mama’s Classic Recipe

Ingredients

1 large head of white cabbage or Savoy cabbage

400g rice

500g of minced beef or pork

chicken stock – a cube or concentrate will do

1 tube of tomato purée

salt & pepper

2 bay leaves

3 or 4 peppercorns or allspice or both

Although the gołąbki take a while to put together, you then leave them to cook in a slow oven for hours which is easy.

You can reheat them on the next day and in fact I think they taste better the longer they have been steeped in the cooking liquid and I always make them a day in advance.

They also freeze very well, so I pack any left in portions of 2 or 4 for a later date. Because of  this I like to make as big a batch as I can in one go.

I use a very large enamelled oval dish with a lid which is ideal for this.

As you need whole largish cabbage leaves I sometimes use 2 cabbages to get the bigger leaves.

You need to parboil the rice in salted water so that it is about half way to being cooked and then strain the rice and let it go cold, but if you have some plain boiled rice left from another day you could use this as this is not critical.

In a large bowl mix the rice and minced meat and add salt and pepper. The exact amounts do not matter. I like it to look about 50/50 white and pink but these can be made with much more rice to eke out the meat available.

Next comes the hardest part and patience is called for here to avoid getting scalded fingers. You have to heat or steam the cabbage to make the leaves pliable so you can remove them one by one and use them to encase the filling.

You need the largest pan you have into which you place the cabbage head. I boil some water in a kettle and pour this over the cabbage in the pan with some heat under the pan I let the cabbage cook a little. The temptation is to boil to quickly so making some of the leave too soft and runs the risk of getting scalded as you try to remove the leaves. Another method is to place the cabbage into a metal colander and set this over the pan of water so that it is steamed rather than boiled.

As the leaves become soft, you have to cut them off from the stalk and stack them up for to use later, you can cut out the thickest part of the stalk from the first few larger leaves.

Instructions from my Polish cookbook “bible”

Pre heat the oven to GM2 – 150oC

Place a small handful of the rice & meat mixture onto a cabbage leaf and roll up from the stalk end, tuck in the sides and secure with the outer edge of the leaf to make a small parcel.

Place the rolls into a large casserole dish, packing as many rolls as possible in rows in the dish. Depending on the depth of the dish repeat this for another layer.

A tip I got from my late cousin, Krystyna, is to use extra cabbage leaves on the base of the dish and then to put extra leaves on the top of the rolls.

The rolls sometimes have a habit of getting slightly burnt on the top as they come out of the liquid and sometimes at the base if they have been in the oven a long time, these extra layers protect the rolls and can be discarded at the end.

Make a large amount of liquid stock with hot water and tomato purée and add bay leaves, peppercorns and allspice.

Cover the rolls with this liquid. It is a good idea to have extra which you can use to top up as they are cooking.

Cover with the lid and place in the oven and cook for several hours. Check them occasionally and keep them covered with liquid as much as possible.

As mentioned earlier I make these a day beforehand and then put them back in the oven for an hour or so before serving.

They are a complete meal in themselves but you can give serve them with some bread to mop up all the liquid sauce.

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