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

 

 

 

 

 

More Duck

Duck With Sour Cherries

After apples (see It’s Only A Bird!) one of the most popular ways of serving roast duck in Poland is with sour cherries.

Sour cherries & sweet cherries  are related but in Polish they have have completely different names

Prunus cerasus  are wiśnie  –  sour cherries also known as morello cherries  &  Prunus avium are czereśnie –  sweet cherries.

Prunus cerasus originated in the Iranian plateau & Eastern Europe.

Annual crop production figures for sour cherries in 2012  show:

1  – Turkey with over 187,000 tonnes

2  – Russia with over 183,000 tonnes &

3 –  Poland with over 175,000 tonnes

So the figure for Poland is high when you think of the size of the top two countries, especially when figures for the whole of the United States of America are only  around  38,000tonnes.

For this recipe fresh sour cherries would have to be cooked with some sugar but  here in England rather than fresh sour cherries you have to use bottled ones.

Previously I used to be able to buy bottled sour cherries produced by Krakus or PEK but recently went out shopping for these I could not find any shops that stocked them.

In one of the Polish shops I found some from the company EDMAL and I also found some in Lidl.

Both are good though personally  I preferred the taste of the EDMAL ones.

The Lidl ones are pitted whearas the EDMAL ones still have the stones in – you can remove the stones if you want or just warn people that the stones are still in.

Cherry Stoner

There is more liquid in the EDMAL jar as this is sold as a kompot.

Kompot is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage, that may be served hot or cold.

It is made by cooking fruit such as apples, rhubarb, gooseberries, or sour cherries in a large volume of water, together with sugar or raisins. Sometimes spices such cinnamon are added for additional flavour, especially in winter when kompot is usually served hot.

For this recipe you need to strain more liquid off from the kompot which you  can save and drink later.

A jar is easily enough for  4 people and could serve 6.

The sour cherries are cooked separately from the duck in this recipe.

 

 

Rather than using whole duck,  I use duck breasts, 1 per person, as this makes it easier for me especially when there are more than two people for dinner.

I am giving instructions for 2 different coatings for the duck here –  the rest of the instructions are the same.

Ingredients

Duck breasts – 1 per person

Jar of sour cherries.

Italian herbs or  ground allspice

Salt & pepper

Method

Rub the duck breasts with Italian herbs, ground black pepper and salt and leave for at least an hour.

or

Rub the duck breasts with allspice and salt and leave for at least an hour

Duck breast with Italian herbs, salt and pepper.

 

 

Duck breast with allspice and salt.

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Allspice  is very popular in Polish cooking. It is the dried berry of the plant Pimenta diocia

Allspice in Polish is ziele angielskie  which translates as  herb English because it came to Poland from English traders who brought it from the West Indies in the 16th century.  I do not know why it is called herb (which indicates the  green part of a plant) as the word more often used for spice in Polish is zioła (indicating dried berries or roots etc).

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Put a baking tray in the oven for around 10 minutes to heat up.

Heat a heavy based frying pan (I use a cast iron pan) until it is very hot –  you do not need any added oil or fat.

Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Put the duck onto the heated baking tray.

Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.

You can serve the duck breast as whole pieces or slice them up.

Whilst the duck is in the oven, put the strained cherries with some of the juice into a pan and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for around 5 minutes – do not let them boil dry – add extra juice if necessary.

Serve the cooked duck with the cherries, adding some of the juices as well as the fruit.

Duck with sour cherries served on Carnation (1982 -1998) by Royal Doulton

 

 

 

 

It’s Only A Bird!

I was in Poland during a time of economic difficulties when there were food shortages & rationing. It was in the summer holiday period,

In order to alleviate the meat shortage in the main tourist areas, hotels & restaurants had been all allocated a different Meatless Day each week.

Now in Poland when you say meat – most people think pork!

I had not really been affected by this as most of my time had been spent with relatives and much of it in the countryside but I did make one visit to Warsaw and went with my cousin to a small but posh restaurant.

The maître d’  came up to me and this was the conversation:

“My dear lady, I am afraid you have come to us on a meatless day”

“Please do not worry,  what do you have on the menu?”

“There is roast duck”

“Is duck not meat?”

“It’s only a bird!”

On that day I had the best roast duck with apples I have ever eaten!

I have spent some time recreating this dish. The duck I had in Warsaw had been roasted stuffed with apples  – here I have been using duck breast fillets as this fits in better with the meals I make.

I have tried using eating apples & cooking apples and they have both turned out very well. The recipe with cooking apples is nearer to the original Polish roast but as they were both delicious I am including them both.

For these recipes I have used Gressingham duck breasts.

Gressingham duck was first breed in Lancashire, England in the 1980s near a village of that name.  It is cross between the small flavourful wild Mallard and the larger Pekin duck.  It gives a succulent duck with more breast meat, less fat and a rich, gamey  flavour.

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Production is now by Gressingham Foods Ltd in East Anglia.

I have used the same method for preparing and cooking the duck breasts, allowing 1 breast per person.  The difference between the 2 recipes is the type of apple used.

Duck with Bramley Apples

Ingredients

1 Duck breast per person

2 to 3 Bramley apples

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of sugar

Italian Herbs

Salt & Pepper

Method

Rub the duck breasts with Italian herbs, ground black pepper and salt and leave for at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Peel and core the Bramley and cut into quarters or eighths depending on the size of the apples.

In a saucepan, over a low heat, melt the butter, add the apples and cook then for around 5 minutes – you want them to to be softened but not a purée.  Keep them warm in the pan whilst you do the duck breasts.

 

 

Heat a heavy based frying pan (I use a cast iron pan) until it is very hot- you do not need any added oil or fat.

Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Put the apples onto a baking tray and sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over them.

Put the duck breast on top of the apples with the skin side up.

Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.

 

Duck with Eating Apples

Ingredients

1 Duck breasts per person

2 to 3 eating apples such as Pink Lady or Jazz

1 tablespoon of butter

Italian Herbs

Salt & Pepper

Method

Rub the duck breasts with Italian herbs, ground black pepper and salt and leave for at least 1 hour.

Pre- heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Leave the skins on the eating apples.

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Core the apples and cut them into thick slices.

In a saucepan, over a low heat, melt the butter,add the apples and cook then for around 5 minutes – you want them to to be softened but not a purée.  Keep them warm in the pan whilst you do the duck breasts.

Heat a heavy based frying pan (I use a cast iron pan) until it is very hot- you do not need any added oil or fat.

Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Put the apples onto a baking tray.

 

Put the duck breast on top of the apples with the skin side up.

Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Kotlety

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

Kotlety are made from pork loin or pork chops and the meat is beaten thin, dipped in beaten egg, coated in dried breadcrumbs and quickly shallow fried in oil

They can also be called bitki – which means something that is beaten or kotlety panierowane – which means coated in breadcrumbs.

 

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Coteletta alla Milanesie is veal coated in breadcrumbs and is thought to be the inspiration for Wiener Schnitzel.

I do not know if the dish arrived in Poland from Italy or Austria however for many this is thought of as a very Polish dish.  I have had this served in every  Polish home I have visited and it is usually on most Polish restaurant menus.

My mother used to make them with either pork chops or pork loin if it was available. Nowadays pork loin is readily available and that is what I use.

Ingredients

Thin slices of pork loin – around 2 pieces per person

Beaten egg – 1 tends to be enough for up to 3 to 4 people

Dried breadcrumbs – home made – look for bułka tarta in a Polish shop

Sunflower oil for frying

 

Method

Trim the fat from the meat.

Use a metal or wooden kitchen mallet – (I find the wooden ones with very spiky heads are a bit too rough.) to  beat the meat slices, turning them over to do both sides.

Have the beaten egg in a shallow dish and dip in a slice or two meat at a time.

Have the breadcrumbs on a large plate and dip the egg coated slices in the breadcrumbs, turning  them over to cover both sides.

I use a cast iron frying pan into which I put some sunflower oil and heat this up to a medium to highish heat.

Quickly fry the kotlety, first on one side and then turn them over to do the over side.

You do not want the oil too hot so it burns the breadcrumbs however you do not want the heat too low or the breadcrumbs will soak up too much oil and be very greasy.

I find you can do two at a time (three if they are small pieces).

You can place the cooked ones onto kitchen paper whilst you do the rest and you can also keep them in a low oven till they are all done.

I like the freshly cooked ones the best – I always choose the last ones fried!

I serve these with creamy mashed potato, cooked frozen green peas and a Polish salad     such as the ones made with sauerkraut.

Sometimes I add an English style, home made apple sauce made from the Bramley apples in my garden.

Poles Love Meat

Years ago one of my colleagues had a book about Eastern European cookery in which it stated that at one time the  Poles were the biggest meat eaters in Europe.

I have tried to find this publication for this reference but to no avail.

I looked up figures for meat consumption in Europe per capita and figures for the early 21st century have Luxenbourg, Spain & Austria in the top three.

Surprisingly for a nation of supposed meat lovers,  a common surnames  is Jarosz and Jaroszewicz and other variations on this which comes from the word jarosz  which means vegetarian. We had several family friends with this surname.

If you hear the word meat in Poland, then think pork, that is the nation’s favourite, be it fresh pork or changed into the wide variety of sausages and smoked meats.  I think  pork will always take top place in a meal at a Polish special occasion.

In communist times,  I  visited my mother’s sister who had a small farm and  kept pigs and made her own sausages, smoking them in a special smoking unit which was in the attic of the house; they were delicious.

 

 

On a more recent trip to other relatives in a large town, I learnt that they had put in a special order for smoked sausages and meats from a lady in a nearby village when they knew I was coming and these were far superior to what was available from the shops.

In the past, cattle were mainly kept for milk, cream, butter and cheese and any beef recipes would be for dishes that require  long slow cooking.  In recent times dishes are appearing in restaurants and magazines which feature cuts such as sirloin steak.

Sheep were mainly kept for wool and in the mountain regions in the South of Poland for their milk for making cheese.

There are many recipes for wild boar, venison, rabbit or hare in regional cookery.

Goose, duck and chicken are often eaten – of course a village chicken is always preferred if possible.

This post is an introduction to th  meat dishes that I will be posting in the future  – although I have  posted a few already

Bigos

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Quick bigos

 

Gołąbki – Cabbage rolls

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Klops – Mama’s meatloaf

 

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