Vegetable Fritters

The Polish for these is kotlety z jarzyn  – cutlets from vegetables.

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

These are made with boiled or steamed vegetables.

Root vegetables are good here as well as cooked cabbage – you can also add cooked pulses such as peas and beans –  I am writing a post just about bean fritters which will be posted soon.

The following vegetable are ones I often use: cabbage, carrots, celeriac, cauliflower, parsnip and potato.

The cooked vegetables need to be chopped fine, minced or mashed – whichever is more suitable or easiest.

 

For this post I cooked the vegetables especially but this is a good way to use up any leftover cooked vegetables.

Ingredients

Around 500g of cooked vegetables – chopped,mashed or minced as appropriate.

2 onions – chopped fine

Butter to fry the onions

1 egg (can add another egg yolk as well)

2 – 3 tablespoons of potato flour – depends on how moist or starchy the vegetables are.

Salt & pepper

Dried Breadcrumbs

Sunflower oil for frying

Extras – you can add chopped parsley, dill or chives or any other herbs you like.

Method

Chop fine, mash or mince the vegetables as appropriate.

Chop the onions and fry them gently in butter till golden and leave to cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix the vegetables and the onion together.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add enough potato flour to make the mixture fairly stiff.

Add salt and pepper.

Put dried breadcrumbs on a board or large plate.

Make largish balls of the mixture and flatten them onto the breadcrumbs, turn them over  and cover all the sides.

Fry them gently in hot sunflower oil.

You can keep them warm on a baking tray in the oven whilst making the rest.

Reheating

I like these reheated – Place them on a baking tray into a pre-heated hot oven GM6  200°C for around 15  minutes.

The combinations are endless – here are some ideas ….

Cauliflower & Spring Onions or Chives

As in the instructions above with the addition of chopped spring onion (the green part) or chives.

 

 

Carrot & Parsnip

 

Carrot, Potato & Peas

 

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Courgettes – 3 Ways

Courgettes in Polish are cukini – so here is another vegetable that owes its name in Polish to Italian  – zucchini.

Courgettes belong to the cucurbitaceae family as do cucumbers which are very well loved in Poland

I have read that courgettes did not become popular in Poland until the 1970s although the larger marrow and pumpkins were often cooked and many recipes for these can be adapted for courgettes.

 

Here are 3 ways of cooking courgettes  – they all go well with grilled or roast meats such as pork or chicken.

Floured Courgettes

This is a very simple Polish way of cooking courgettes.

Ingredients

2 courgettes – sliced

2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour

Salt & Pepper

Sunflower oil & Butter for frying

Method

Slice the courgettes and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Put the plain flour in a dish and toss the slices of courgettes in the flour.

 

 

Fry them gently  on both sides in a mixture of sunflower oil and butter.

Place the cooked ones on some kitchen roll in a warm oven whilst you do the next batch.

 

Breaded Courgettes

Sliced rounds of courgette are coated with dried breadcrumbs – this recipe reminds me of vegetables served à la Polonaise.

Ingredients

2 Courgettes

2 beaten eggs

Plain flour

Dried Breadcrumbs

Salt & Pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Slice the courgettes and place them in a colander and sprinkle them with salt and pepper and leave them for 15 minutes.

 

 

Dry the courgettes with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.

 

 

Toss the courgettes in flour.

Dip them into the beaten egg.

Coat them with dried breadcrumbs.

 

 

Fry the slices, on both sides,  in hot sunflower oil.

 

Note

If you have any left, they are good with dips such as mayonnaise or salsa.

Buttery & Lemony Courgettes

I cannot remember where I got this recipe from but it is a method I have used for years.

Ingredients

2 courgettes – sliced

1 lemon – fine grated rind & juice

2- 3 tablespoons of butter

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Use a small saucepan or high sided frying pan

Put the lemon rind and juice into the pan.

Sprinkle salt & pepper on the courgette slices.

Add the courgette slices and heat gently for a few minutes and use the lid to keep in the liquid.

Add the butter and continue cooking gently.

 

 

 

Continue cooking until the slices are tender throughout and the lemon juice and butter have reduced to a buttery lemon coating.

 

Served in a dish by Alfred Meakin – Jayne – from the 1950s.

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.

Klops – Mama’s Meatloaf

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This recipe has evolved from two of my mother’s recipes. One was for  klops –  Polish meatloaf and the other was for the meat stuffing that she used in her roast chicken.

The meatloaf would have been made in Poland with minced pork but often in England my mother used minced beef as it was more available. To this was added grated onion, bread moistened with milk, a beaten egg, salt & pepper; this was shaped into an oval shape and covered with dried breadcrumbs and baked in the oven.

In many of the Polish recipes the meatloaf is baked in a loaf tin or a shallow roasting tray.  I however like the open baked version as I love the crunchy breadcrumbs on the outside.

The meat stuffing for chicken was originally made with minced pork, (if this was not available my mother used English style sausage meat) grated onion, bread moistened with milk, a beaten egg and salt & pepper and dried breadcrumbs were added to firm it up and this was used to stuff the chicken.

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Meatloaf – Waiting to go into the oven

As there was usually some left my mother would shape this, put dried breadcrumbs on top and bake this in the oven with the chicken. We always wanted to eat some of this and even liked the extra bit better that the actual stuffing because of its crispy coat.   She started to make more of it so that we could all have some at dinner. My nephew and nieces called this Grandma’s meat.

This extra stuffing has also evolved, the grated raw onion has been replaced by chopped fried onion ( though you can use both )  and now I use a mixture of  minced pork and English style sausage meat.

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Frying a Chopped Onion

Luxury or Premium sausage meat is the best to use but often shops only have this available at Christmas, when it is in stock I buy quite a lot and freeze it for several occasions. Sometimes it is sold in 1kilogramme packs, I usually cut these into two or four and re-wrap.

When I cannot get the luxury sausage meat I buy good quality pork sausages and remove the skins.

Now when I have visitors for a roast chicken they always want to make certain that I will be doing a meatloaf as well, some say this is what they most look forward to eating on Christmas Day!

Ingredients

None of the amounts given are exact; they are only for a guide.

500g of luxury sausage meat

500g of lean minced pork

2 medium onions finely chopped and fried till golden brown

1 large egg beaten with salt & pepper

1 slice of white bread – left for half an hour in a bowl with a little milk – do not use the excess milk.

2 teaspoons of Italian herbs or similar

Dried breadcrumbs

Method

Pre heat the oven to GM  5 – 190oC

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Bread Soaking up some Milk

Lightly grease a thick baking sheet.

In a large mixing bowl mix everything together except the dried breadcrumbs. Use your hands to get everything thoroughly mixed in.

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Waiting To Be Mixed
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Well Mixed Ingredients

Add some dried breadcrumbs to firm up the mix as necessary.

Dried Breadcrumbs

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Shape your mixture on to the baking sheet making it into an oval shape rather like a bloomer loaf of bread – make it as high as you can.

Cover the loaf with lots of dried breadcrumbs and place into the oven. It will take about 1hour 30minutes maybe longer – it needs to be done to a golden to very golden colour and the breadcrumbs will be crispy.

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Cooked Meatloaf
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Waiting to be sliced

 

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Cut into thick slices to serve, any left can be eaten cold with a salad.

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Sliced Meatloaf

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Cold Meatloaf with Carrot & Sauerkraut Salad

Note

If you have any left over and cannot eat it the next day or so – then it freezes very well – I wrap slices first in aluminium foil and then in a plastic freezer bag.

 

 

 

 

Krokiety Kartoflane – Potato Croquettes

This is another way my mother had of using boiled potatoes – I do not remember her boiling the potatoes especially for these – she would make them with leftover boiled potatoes. (Not that she did not know how many to potatoes to cook for a meal – she would often cook more so she had some for a different use the next day.)

I have given approximate weights below – once you have made them you will know what to expect  – I do not think my mother ever weighed out the quantities – just went by eye and consistency.

Ingredients

This will make around 12 croquettes

500g of starchy potatoes – such as King Edward or Maris Piper

20g of melted butter

1  beaten egg

2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour

Breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil such as sunflower for shallow frying.

Method

Mash the boiled,cold potatoes so that they are smooth and without lumps.

Add the slightly cooled, melted butter and the beaten egg and mix together.

Add the flour and mix to a soft dough – not too much flour  as a soft dough gives a more fluffy croquette.

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Boiled Potatoes
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Preparing the Breadcrumbs

Divide the dough into 4 manageable pieces and roll out into a long sausage shape and divide them into 3. You are aiming for equal sizes of around 3cm deep and 4cm wide by 10cm long.

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Shaped and Coated Croquettes

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Shallow Frying
Shallow Frying

Shallow fry the croquettes in hot vegetable oil in a frying pan, turning them over so that both sides are golden and crispy.

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Potato Croquettes – A Variation

The above is how my mother made these croquettes, whilst looking through my Polish cookery books I came across the following variation also which I tried out & I like these as well.

Method – as above – but instead of just melted butter, fry till golden, half a finely chopped onion in 20 -30g of butter.

Leave this to cool before adding it to the potato mixture.

à la Polonaise

Polish Style

I was well into my 20s before I realised that there was a special French culinary phrase to describe, what to me, was just the regular topping that my mother and aunties put onto certain cooked vegetables.

Within my family I had never been served cauliflower, Brussels sprouts  or whole green beans without a lovely crispy buttery breadcrumb mixture.

I have not discovered when this term was first used in France but some sources think it might have come into use in the early part of the 19th century when many Polish political émigrés came to France and in particular Paris.

Method for the Vegetables

Cook your cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or whole green bean in whatever way you like best.

You can if you wish cook the cauliflower whole – this can have quite a good effect when served.

I like to steam the vegetables as I find I can get them just right – cooked – but still with a bit of bite this way.

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Steamed Brussels Sprouts

Place the cooked (and drained if necessary) vegetables in a serving dish.

Pour the buttery topping over the vegetables.

You will get a buttery crunchy taste which is a contrast to the vegetables.

Method for the  à la Polonaise topping

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Butter & Breadcrumbs
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Preparing the Breadcrumbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The topping is made by melting in a saucepan 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls of butter.

(If you use unsalted butter then add a pinch or two of salt)

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Melting the Butter

 

 

 

 

 

Add to this around 2 tablespoonfuls of dried breadcrumbs and keep on the heat and stir for a few minutes.

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Preparing the Breadcrumbs
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Butter & Breadcrumbs

 

 

 

 

 

Pour the buttery mix over the vegetables.

Cauliflower à la Polonaise – served in a Royal Doulton serving dish. The pattern is Carnation produced from 1982 to 1998.

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Brussels Sprouts à la Polonaise – served in a Royal Doulton serving dish. The pattern is Roundelay produced from 1970 to 1997.

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Royal Doulton – Roundelay

Whole green beans à la Polonaise

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Added Note

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Some cookery books say that chopped hard boiled eggs and chopped flat leaf parsley are added to the topping.

Personally I have not found this to be usually so, although chopped hard boiled eggs are added to many salads and to certain soups in Poland and chopped flat leafed parsley is very often used as a garnish.

Breadcrumbs – Bułka tarta

Breadcrumbs are needed for many recipes in Polish cookery and especially in the topping à la Polonaise.

So I always make sure I have some in my store cupboard.

Bułka tarta is usually translated as breadcrumbs  –  they are the  dried and then ground or grated crumbs from white rolls (bułka is a bread roll) or white (wheat) bread.

Bread in Poland is normally made from rye flour or a mixture of rye and wheat flour.  White bread and rolls were viewed as a luxury in days gone by.

I usually make my own breadcrumbs as in the past the ones you could buy in England were often dyed orange and I did not like them at all.

Nowadays there are many Polish shops and Polish bakeries that sell these dried breadcrumbs.

I have used them and they are good.

If you want to buy them then

Bułka tarta

is what you are looking for – usually sold in 500g bags.

I still make my own as they are a good use of any type of white bread you have left over and the crumbs keep for ages in an airtight box.

Making Breadcrumbs

You need white (wheat) bread – either slices from a loaf or bread rolls – cut in half.

Put your oven on its lowest setting – on mine this is GM1

You can put the slices of bread directly on the oven shelves or you can use a silicone mesh sheet which is good as the moisture which come off the bread does not condense under the bread and it is easier to remove the dried bread from the oven when it is ready.

Leave the bread in the oven for an hour or more – it wants to be a golden brown.

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Lightly Dried Bread – It can be a darker brown if desired

Put the dried bread on a chopping board and use a rolling pin to crush it.

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I store my breadcrumbs in an airtight plastic box – I use  Sistema™ boxes which are made in New Zealand.

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