Kotlety with Sauerkraut

Having made kotlety mielone (minced meat burgers ) with first fresh and then cooked cabbage,  I started to think of a variation which in a way is more Polish!

I decided to use sauerkraut and also some fresh mushrooms  – though dried ones might even be more Polish.

Ingredients

500g beef mince

Half a 900g jar of sauerkraut *

150g of mushrooms

1 onion – chopped fine

2 -3  tablespoons semolina

2 eggs

Butter & sunflower oil for frying

Dried breadcrumbs  

Salt  and pepper

* I often freeze the other half of the jar in a plastic tub for another time.

Method

Drain the sauerkraut and rinse with cold water.

Place the sauerkraut in a pan of water and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.

Drain the sauerkraut and leave to cool then dry  it with a tea towel.

Chop the sauerkraut into small pieces using a sharp knife.

Fry the chopped onion in a little hot oil and butter.

Chop the mushrooms into small pieces and add them to the onions and continue frying until the onions are lightly browned – leave the mixture to cool.

In a large bowl mix the minced meat,  the sauerkraut and onion and mushroom mixture until they are evenly mix.

Add the eggs and mix.

Add the semolina, salt and pepper and mix until you get a uniform mixture.

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.

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C

Shallow fry the kotlety in hot oil, depending on the frying pan size,  you can do 4 to 5 at a time, turning them over so that both sides are done.

Place them on a  metal tray  and put in the oven and keep adding to these as you keep frying the batches.

 

Served here with gherkins

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They were voted as delicious!

Note

Should you have any left,  you can reheat them in sauce made with chicken or vegetable stock.

 

Ribs with Sauerkraut

For this dish use the best pork you can buy – I used some locally reared Yorkshire pork.

Ingredients

1 -2  racks of pork ribs

900ml – large jar of sauerkraut

2 onions – thinly sliced – fried.

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 cloves of garlic – chopped

1 tablespoon of sugar (more or less depends on the sourness of the sauerkraut)

4-5 peppercorns

350ml- of chicken stock (can be from a cube or concentrate) – extra might be needed for topping up.

Caraway Seeds

Method

Take the sauerkraut out of the jar and put into a saucepan with any liquid from the jar.

Cover the sauerkraut with water and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to GM3- 160°C

You need a large oven proof dish with a lid  – I use an enameled dish.

Put the sauerkraut, and any liquid, and onions in the dish and mix well.

Add, caraway, garlic, sugar & peppercorns.

Pour most of the stock over the sauerkraut mixture.

Place the ribs on top of the sauerkraut and pour the rest of the stock over them.

 

 

 

 

Put the lid on the dish and place in the oven.

Check on the liquid level during the cooking time and add any extra needed so it does not dry out.

Move some of the sauerkraut  mixture over the ribs.

Cook for 3-4 hours.

This would usually be served with either rye bread or boiled potatoes.

Kotlety with Cabbage

On my last trip to Poland my  cousin in Białystok suggested this variation on kotlety mielone – minced meat burgers.

The idea is to add shredded white cabbage to the minced meat mix.

I used the following  amounts by weight:

2 parts minced meat : 1 part cabbage – you can go up to equal weights of each.

Ingredients

500g beef mince

250g white cabbage

1 onion – chopped fine

3  tablespoons semolina*

2 eggs

Dried breadcrumbs

Salt  and pepper

* I used semolina instead of my usual white bread soaked in milk – I was pleased with this as an alternative.

Sunflower oil  for frying

Method

Chop the onion fine and fry in a little hot oil till lightly browned then leave till cold.

Cut the cabbage into fine shreds and then across so you have small squarish pieces.

In a large bowl mix the minced meat and cabbage till they are evenly mix.

Add the fried onions and mix again.

Add the eggs and mix.

Add the semolina, salt and pepper and mix until you get a uniform mixture.

 

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 had found I like these more when they have been in the oven for a while after frying – evenly cooked through.

These can be served in many ways, with boiled or mashed potatoes or rice and a variety of salads.

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Served  here with steamed & buttered new potatoes and carrot & apple salad – on

Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998.

Version 2 – using Cooked Cabbage

Whilst doing some research on this recipe,  I found that some cooks used cooked cabbage rather than raw.

Ingredients

As above but this time with 400g – 500g of uncooked white cabbage  (around the same weight as the minced meat).

Method

Chop the cabbage into large pieces and steam it till cooked.

Dry the cabbage with a clean tea towel to get rid of as much water as possible.

Chop the cabbage into very fine pieces.

Proceed as in the method above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note

For both versions, should you have any left,  you can reheat them in sauce made with chicken or vegetable stock.

Ribs with Cabbage

Once when on a visit to my late cousin, Krystyna, in the Mazurian lakes, many years ago, she made this dish with pork ribs.

 

 

The Mazurian Lakes – The Land  of a thousand lakes in North East Poland.

Maybe because it was the summer time or maybe the type of pork but I remember this meat as being so flavoursome.

It was as a really delicious meal  with the meat just falling of the bones  and we ate the ribs with lovely mashed potatoes.

Use the best pork you can buy – I used some locally reared Yorkshire pork.

Ingredients

1 or 2 racks of pork ribs

2  carrots – coarse grated

2 onions – sliced thinly

Half a head of a small cabbage – cut into fine shreds.

3-4 allspice berries

3-4 peppercorns

2 cloves of garlic – chopped

500ml of chicken stock & more for top-up (can be from a cube or concentrate)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Use a large oven proof dish with a lid.

Put the carrots, onions and cabbage into the dish.

Add the allspice, peppercorns and garlic

Pour the stock over the vegetables.

 

Place the ribs so they sit on top of the vegetables.

Put the lid on top and cook in the oven for several hours.

Check occasionally and add more stock if required.

Lower the temperature of the oven to GM 2 – 150°C for a few more hours-  OR – take out of the oven and reheat for several hours at  GM4 – 180°C the next day.

Tomato Variation

After the original cooking – the next day add stock which has had 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato puree added to it.

 

Zrazy – made with Minced Meat

These zrazy are like the ones made with braising beef in that the minced meat mixture surrounds various stuffings.

The minced meat mixture  is similar to kotlety mielone  &  pulpety – but  zrazy are cooked differently.

You take a large handful of minced meat mixture , place the stuffing on it and then close up the mixture so you have an oval shape with the stuffing on the inside.

Ingredients

500g minced beef

1 beaten egg

4 tablespoons of semolina

1 onion chopped and fried

Salt & pepper

plain flour for coating

Sunflower oil for frying

Stock

500ml of chicken stock

1 -2 bay leaves

3-4 Peppercorns

2-3 Allspice berries

Stuffing

Two stuffings often used are –

Pieces of bottled peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sticks of Gouda cheese or similar

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Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160°C

Mix the beef, fried onion, egg and semolina together.

Season with salt & pepper.

Divide the mixture into around 6 pieces

Flatten out each piece and place the stuffing in the centre.

Close up the mixture around the stuffing to make an oval shaped ball.

Dust the ball with plain flour.

 

Lightly seal these by browning then in hot oil.

 

Place the zrazy into an oven proof dish – one that has a lid – so they are not touching.

Pour in the stock – enough to have some at the bottom but do not cover the zrazy.

 

Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 1 -2 hours.

Sauce

You can thicken the stock that the zrazy are cooked in with cornflour or you can add other ingredients such as fried mushrooms and soured cream when you come to serve them.

 

 

 

Two shown here – cut through – one with cheese & one with peppers,  served with a mushroom and soured cream sauce.

Served on Royal Doulton  Carnation – 1982-1998

 

 

 

Zrazy – Meat Roll-ups

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.

 

 

Stock

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.

 

 

 

 

Dried Mushrooms

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.

 

 

Pork & Pears

This is a new recipe for me – it is from the South West of Poland, the area called Śląsk – Silesia in English.

Pyrus communis is the European pear.

Pears originated in the Caucasus and then spread to Asia and Ancient Persia and from there to Europe.

Pears have been cultivated for over 4,000 years.

The Polish for pear is gruszka

Pears are more demanding than apples and so you will find that there are more pear orchards in Southern Poland where there is more sun and because of the fertile soil.

Conference is a a popular cultivated variety in England. It was cultivated by Thomas Francis Rivers and it won 1st prize in 1885 National British Pear Conference in London.

It is also popular and grown in Poland now where it is called Konferencja.

This is a good pear for this recipe as it need to be a hard pear that keeps its shape and does not disintegrate.

Version 1 Using Shoulder Pork

Ingredients

400g – 500g of shoulder pork – in slices.

4 -5 hard pears such as Conference

1 parsnip

1 carrot

1 onion

1 -2 tablespoons of plain flour.

300ml of vegetable or chicken stock (can be from powder or a cube)

4 -5 grains of  ziele angeliskie which is allspice

Salt

Sunflower oil for frying.

 

Allspice also called pimenta or Jamaican pepper is very popular in Polish cookery.

It is the dried unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, a tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico and Central America.

The name allspice was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

It used to be very popular in England and that is why in Poland it is called ziele angielskie which means English herb(Why herb rather than spice I do not know!) 

Until recently it seemed to have fallen out of favour in England though now it seems to be being used more and more.

In Poland it is used with meats as well as or instead of peppercorns and is used in cakes.

I have been able to obtain it a lot more readily in the past few years and am now using it a great deal especially in casseroles as I love the taste.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Peel & chop the parsnip and carrot into rough cubes.

Chop the onion into small pieces.

Fry the all gently together and put them at the bottom of a the casserole dish.

Lightly dust the pork and fry gently in sunflower oil.

 

Add the pork on top of the vegetables.

Sprinkle with salt.

Pour in the stock & put on the lid.

Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour – then turn the oven down to GM3 – 160°C and cook for another 2 hours.

Peel the pears and cut then in half and remove core & pips.

Place the pears on top of the meat & cover with the lid.

Cook for around 20 – 30 minutes until the pears are tender.

You can make this in advance with just the vegetables and pork and then re-heat it at GM4 – 180°C – for around an hour and then add the pears.

Using Dried Pears

Dried pears are often used rather than fresh – drying fruit is a very popular method of fruit preservation in Poland & means that this recipe could be made in the winter when all the fresh fruit was no longer available.

Dried Pears are for sale in the fruit and nut stall In Kirkstall Market in Leeds.

You have to reconstitute the pears – this is best done overnight.

Place the pears in a dish and pour hot weak black tea over the pears and leave them or you can use just hot boiled water  – I think the pears with tea taste better.

Cook the meat as before and after you have added the re-constituted pears cook the dish for another 30 – 35 minutes.

Version 2 Using Pork Loin with dried pears

You have to reconstitute the pears – this is best done overnight.

Place the pears in a dish and pour hot weak black tea over the pears and leave them or you can use just hot boiled water  – I think the pears with tea taste better.

Fry some slices of pork loin on both sides in a mixture of oil and butter in a deep frying pan.

Add the reconstituted pears about 3 per piece of meat with some of the liquid.

Cover the pans with a tight fitting lid (good to have a glass one to see what is happening – as it is easy for this to burn because of the sugar in the pears & liquid) and simmer for 25 -30 minutes.

 

 

One of my books said these went very well with dumplings from Śląsk (Silesia in English) – these I will have to investigate for a later post next year.

 

 

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