Cranberry & Pear Sauce

This is very popular in Poland, especially in the wintertime, and is served with hot roasts or cold meats and smoked sausages.

I cannot find any reference to when and why these two fruits were put together but they do make a good combination.

It is more like a conserve or a salsa  –  it is not a pouring sauce.

Many years ago I got a recipe from my aunty in Białystok. However I did not get around to to making this until recently, mainly because the pears in my garden are ripe in September but fresh cranberries are not  in the shops in England until around December.

As I could not use my own pears and I  decided to make this with bought produce.

The following proportions are used,  2 parts cranberries to 1 part pears (once they are peeled & cored).

Hard pears, such as Conference pears are best and it is better if they are ripe as they provide sweetness.

I find that “bought” cranberry sauce is often much too sweet and sickly.

It is difficult to judge how much sugar to add, I have given the quatities I used, it is easier to add some later, hard to take any away!

Version 1

This will keep for at least a week in a fridge – I pack the sauce into oven sterilised jars.

Ingredients

600g Cranberries

300g Pears (once peeled and cored)

300g Granulated sugar

300ml of water

Method

Rinse the cranberries and drain and put them into a plastic bag, flatten the bag and place it into a freezer for 24 hours.

The next day, take the cranberries out of the bag and put them into a bowl and cover them with boiling water then leave them for 30 minutes and then strain them.

Peel and core the pears and then cut them into rough cubes.

Place the cranberries in a thick bottomed pan and add the pears, sugar and the water.

Bring to the boil, mixing often then simmer gently for around 30 minutes, still stirring often.

Pour the sauce into hot sterilised jars – leave them to cool thoroughly  before putting on the lids.

Version 2

This will also keep for at least a week in a fridge – I pack the sauce into oven sterilised jars – it has a “fresher ” taste than version 1.

Ingredients

600g Cranberries

300g Pears (once peeled and cored)

70 -100g Granulated sugar

Method

Peel and core the pears and then cut them into rough cubes.

Place the cranberries in a thick bottomed pan and add the pears and 70g of the sugar and stir well.

Cover with a lid and heat gently for around 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and give the mixture a stir, continue doing this for around 15 minutes, when you check and stir you can test for sweetness and add up to another 30g of sugar.

Pour the sauce into hot sterilised jars – leave them to cool thoroughly  before putting on the lids.

 

 

 

Polish Beans – American Style

I believe this recipe is very popular in America and I think it is a sort of second generation recipe which is made up from memories of  dishes from Poland and some adaptations using local ingredients.

I feel this is a blend of two previous bean recipes Beans – po Staropolsku (in an old Polish style) which has a lot of sweetness using prunes and honey and Breton beans with tomato sauce.   Here the sweetness is from maple syrup (I still had some from my friend who now lives in Canada – so thought of her as when making this).

Ingredients

Note – these quantities do not have to be exact.

200 -300g kielbasa – Polish sausage

200 – 300g smoked bacon

400 – 500g minced beef

2 small onions

4 large tins of different beans (butter beans, canellini, haricot, red kidney etc) – some recipes say that using some butter beans is a must!

3 tablespoons of tomato puree

1 tablespoon of made-up mustard

1 tablespoon of wine or cider vinegar

250ml maple syrup

Ground black pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 160°C

Drain the beans and place then into an ovenproof dish with a lid.

Chop the onions into small pieces and fry them up in a little oil.

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

Slice and chop the sausage and add this to the onions and bacon.

Add the minced meat  to the mixture and fry this up for a few minutes.

Add this mixture to the beans in the dish.

Mix in the tomato puree, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup and black pepper.

Put the lid on the dish.

Cook for around 3 hours in the oven until the beans are soft.

 

Note

This is suitable for making in a slow cooker.

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

 

 

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.

Pasztet – Pâté

Most Polish households have their own recipe for  pasztet.

Pasztet translates as pâté and is made with liver and other meats,  both cooked and uncooked, often with smoked bacon.  Left over cooked meats can be used.

Pasztet is a baked pâté – more a terrine & usually the sort of pâté you slice rather than spread. (A sort of liver based meat loaf).

 

 

Many recipes use rabbit but I have not included this as it is not as readily available but  I hope try this in the future.

Pork shoulder is good to use and this can be casseroled first in a chicken or vegetable stock or left over from a roast.

Cooked chicken can be roasted or poached once again in a chicken or vegetable stock.

It is good if you have a mincer to mince the meat, however I do not have one and have used a stick blender to blend the liver and a sharp knife to finely chop the cooked meat and bacon.

Pasztet is often cooked in a  loaf tin – but I thought my quantities looked too large for my tin and have used a rectangular Pyrex dish – 19 x 24 x 8cm.

The cooking times quoted are approximate  – it will depend on the amount of mixture and the depth in the dish.

Recipe 1

Country Style Pasztet

The original recipe used finely chopped shoulder pork – I used minced outdoor breed pork.

I used smoked streaky bacon as Polish bacon tends to be fatter than English bacon and this is the nearest.

The amounts of meats does not have to be exact.

Ingredients

500g minced pork

350 streaky bacon (rind removed)

350 – 450g of chicken livers

3 eggs

3 tablespoons of dried breadcrumbs

2 cloves of garlic  – chopped fine

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or marjoram

Salt – maybe a little but often the bacon is salty enough

Pepper

Butter for greasing the dish.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Chop the bacon into small squares.

Blend the chicken livers using a small blender or stick blender.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

 

 

Butter the dish well.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth down the top.

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 70 minutes.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

 

Decorated here with fresh bay leaves – you can use parsley or similar.

Recipe 2

Chicken Pasztet

Any poultry can be used here – this is good way to use up roast turkey – you can even freeze the cooked turkey meat for a pasztet in the future.

Ingredients

450g chicken livers

3 onions

6 tablespoons of butter

600 – 700g of cooked chicken meat (I used breast meat as that is what I had – but thigh meat  would or a mixture is also good)

Dilute vegetable stock (can be from a cube or powder)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or marjoram

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

Salt and pepper

Method

Slice the onions and fry them till soften in the butter.

Add the chicken livers and cook them through.

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Leave to cool completely.

Blend the liver and onions – I used a stick blender.

Place the cooked chicken in a pan and cover with dilute vegetable stock and simmer gently , stirring often.

You want the meat to be soft and falling apart and the liquid to have been absorbed.

Leave to cool completely.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Chop the meat as finely as possible.

 

 

Mix the meat and liver together.

Add the eggs, Italian herbs & sweet paprika.

Add salt and pepper.

Butter the dish well.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth down the top.

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 1 hour.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

Served on a dish – Made in England by H & K Tunstall

Recipe 3

Pork Pasztet

600 – 700g cooked pork (from a casserole or roast)

Dilute vegetable stock (can be from a cube or powder)

250g smoked bacon (rind removed)

250g pork, veal or chicken livers

1 large onion

4 tablespoons of butter & extra for greasing the dish.

3 eggs

6 tablespoons of dried breadcrumbs & extra for the baking dish and top

250ml of milk

2 teaspoons of Italian herbs or marjoram

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

Salt & Pepper

Method

Place the cooked pork in a pan and cover with dilute vegetable stock and simmer gently, stirring often.

Chop the bacon into small squares and add to the pork and simmer for another 20 minutes.

You want the meat to be soft and falling apart and the liquid to have been absorbed.

Leave to cool completely.

Chop the meat as finely as possible.

Slice the onion and fry it till softened in the butter.

Add the liver and cook it through.

Sprinkle with salt.

Leave to cool completely.

Blend the liver and onion –  I used a stick blender.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

In a large bowl throughly mix all the ingredients together.

Butter the dish and sprinkle with dried breadcrumbs.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth the top with a spoon.

Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

 

 

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 80 minutes.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

 

 

 

 

 

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

Served on a dish by Portmeirion – Dawn Chorus – designed by Sophie Conran in the 21st century.

Podpłomyczki – Polish Unleavened Bread

This is a very old recipe for an unleavened, flat bread  – that is one made without yeast.

In Polish, bread has to contain some rye flour, so these are not called bread as  they are made from wheat flour.

Podpłomyczki – płomyczek means flame  and pod means under – these would have originally been baked on stones placed on a camp fire.

The most original recipes are made with just flour, water and salt* and are cooked on a cast iron griddle – these I think are delicious.

I think podpłomyczki are cousins of  the  rotlis from Gujarat that my friend taught me how to make!

As well as this recipe I tried out two other versions.

The first had an egg added to the mixture – I do not think it was any better.

The second used eggs and milk rather than water and were made slightly thicker and one suggestion was to bake them in the oven.

I tried baking in the oven,  on a griddle, both thick and thin.  I thought they were all horrible!

So I am only writing up this one recipe which was really good.

Ingredients

250g plain flour

200ml water

1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Method

Mix the flour and the salt.

Add the water and mix to form ball of soft dough.

Place the dough into a plastic bag and leave it for 30 minutes.

On a floured board flatten the dough into a thick circle.

Cut the dough into eight.

 

Form each peice into a ball and then roll this out thinly using a rolling pin.

Cook these using a cast iron frying pan or griddle.

Do not use any fat or oil.

Turn then over to cook both sides.

Bamboo tongs are very useful.

Watch as they puff up as the water in the dough turns to steam !

They are best eaten straight from the pan.

Otherwise wrap them in a tea towel to keep them warm.

I ate them with butter and with butter and honey – delicious!

* Salt – Polish Salt Mine &  Legend

In southern Poland there is one of the oldest salt mines in the world – the Wieliczka salt mine. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has produced salt since the 13th Century until 2007.

Legend has it that when Princess Kinga, a Hungarian Princess, became betrothed to Bolesław V,  Wstydliwy  (Bolesław V, the Chaste), Prince of Krakow, she asked for salt as her dowry and then threw her betrothal golden ring into a Hungarian mine.

On her arrival in Poland she asked a miner to dig in the ground and there he  found her golden ring inside a rock of  salt and that place became the site of the Wieliczka salt mine.

Because of her good works, Princess Kinga became Saint Kinga after her death.

Photos taken at Wieliczka

 

 

 

Sauerkraut & Mushrooms

Sauerkraut & Mushrooms  is often one of the dishes  for Wigilia (Christmas Eve) when meat is not eaten.

Ingredients

1 large jar  of sauerkraut – around 800 – 900g.

20 – 30g of dried mushrooms

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 onion – finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons of plain flour

Butter or oil for frying the onion

Ground black pepper

*The acidity of sauerkraut varies very much and homemade is often not as acid.

*Rinsing bottled sauerkraut before use will lower the acidity.

*The amount of  sugar  you add to the dish is a personal preference – if rinsed 1 tablespoon should be enough – if not rinsed you might need around 3 tablespoons.

Method

The evening before you want to make this dish place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water and leave them overnight.

Cut the reconstituted mushrooms into strips.

Put the strips and the liquor into a saucepan and simmer them for around 5 minutes.

Drain the sauerkraut and keep the liquid (you might want to use it to adjust the acidity of the dish).

Rinse the sauerkraut with cold water.

Place the sauerkraut in a large saucepan and pour boiling water over it until it just covers it.

Add the sugar.

Bring to the boil and then cover the saucepan with a lid and let it gently simmer for around 10  minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the sauerkraut and mix together.

Continue heating either gently on top of the stove or put the pan with the lid into a low to medium oven.

Cook until the sauerkraut is soft.

Fry the onions until they are golden.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and heat gently to brown the flour.

Add spoonfuls of liquid from the sauerkraut mixture to the onion mix.

Stir and heat to form a thickening roux/paste.

Add this to the sauerkraut mixture and mix throughly .

You can then serve this straight away or put it back in the oven for around 5 minutes.

Sprinkle ground black pepper on the top before serving.

Served here in Carnation by Royal Doulton, 1982 – 1998.

Serve with rye bread or boiled potatoes and hot roast pork or cooked Polish sausages.

For Wigilia (Christmas Eve ) this  would just be served as a seperate dish.