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.

20180127_185749

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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

 

.

 

 

 

Cabbage & Orange Salad

Here is a salad made with one of Poland’s favourite vegetables – cabbage –  and is one I have been making for many, many years since it was given to me by one of my cousins (British born like me) who lives in Wembley.

However it is not a classic Polish salad because it contains oranges which would have been a luxury item in times gone by and certainly in communist times when nothing was imported that was not strictly necessary.

There are just 3 main ingredients & a couple of options for the dressing.

The amounts here are just a guide  – for example – I just usually add a handfull  of raisins – this time I weighed them.

Ingredients

  • Around half a small white cabbage
  • 2 Oranges
  • 80g Raisins
  • Dressing – mayonnaise or yoghurt  or a mixture of the two
  • A pinch of salt & pepper to taste.

Method

Peel the oranges, cut them into slices, separate the segments and then chop these into small pieces.

Finely shred the cabbage

p1020202

 

 

 

 

 

Mix the oranges, raisins & cabbage together.

  • Add the dressing (see below) and mix well together.
  • You can add salt and pepper here if desired – I find just a tiny amount is needed.

Served here in Royal Doulton, Carnation, 1982 – 1998

Dressing

  1. Mayonnaise – I use Hellmann’s – original or light
  2. Greek yoghurt
  3. Mayonnaise & Greek Yoghurt
  4. Any of the above with some extra orange juice.

I tend to make this salad a while before it is needed as with the magic of osmosis – raisins become plumped up with the juice from the oranges & the dressing becomes sweet from the sugars in the raisins.

This salad goes well with roast dinners, cold smoked meats and Polish style sausages.

 

 

 

 

Red Cabbage

A few years ago on one of my  visits to The Netherlands to stay with my Dutch friend, we had a super meal which included a delicious dish of red cabbage that had been cooked with apples.

I thought then that I did not remember my mother ever cooking red cabbage. When I came home I found recipes in both my Polish and English cookery books and tried out many of these.

The following recipe has been refined and altered and this one  with lots of apples and spices is the one  I now use all the time.

As it takes a long time to cook in a low oven or in a slow cooker, I tend to make a lot at once. It freezes and reheats well, so once made I divide it into small portions to freeze.

I think it goes well with roast pork loin and I usually make some before Christmas and serve it with roast pork loin during the holiday period.

Tip 1

Have a lemon ready after handling the chopped red cabbage as you will find your hands become stained blue/purple. Lemon juice will clear the stains away.  Another reason to make this dish in advance.

Tip 2 – Also Excellent as a Salad

I have discovered that this dish is also delicious when it is cold!   I now also serve this with cold meats and Polish style sausage.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 3 or 4 large cooking apples
  • 1 onion – chopped fine
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves – chopped fine
  • 6 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
  • 1 level teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ level teaspoon of ground cloves
  • Salt & ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of cider or wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of water

IMG_20151206_091850279

Method

  • Pre heat the oven to GM 2 or get your slow cooker ready..
  • You need a large oven-proof dish with a lid to make this.  I either use a very large oval enamel dish or I have now started to use a slow cooker.
  • I mix the ingredients in a large bowl first  and then put them in the cooking dish.
  • Mix together the sugar, spices, salt and pepper, vinegar and water.

IMG_20151206_074532421

 

 

 

 

  • Remove the core from the cabbage head and cut the cabbage into fine shreds and add these to the spice mixture.

IMG_20151206_075201568

IMG_20151206_094337683

 

 

 

 

  • Peel, core  and then coarse grate the apples and then add these to the cabbage mixture. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon.

IMG_20151206_100124343

 

 

 

 

  • Put the mixture into the cooking dish (or slow cooker) and put in the oven (or switch on the slow cooker).

 

IMG_20151206_100200501

 

 

 

 

  • It should take about  3-4 hours  – it may take longer in the slow cooker.

 

IMG_20151206_165436551
Red Cabbage Ready to Serve
IMG_20151206_165429509
Serving Dish is Cadiz by Meakin from the 1970s

IMG_20151206_165348782

Cabbage Salad

Fresh cabbage features in many salads in Poland, the following much loved version can be made throughout the year.

In English the word coleslaw is used for a cabbage salad – this word is from the Dutch koolsla –  kool – cabbage,  sla – salad.

IMG_20150719_092859028

Ingredients

IMG_20150719_075848353

IMG_20150826_153305083
I like to use Light or Original
  • 1 or 2 carrots
  • Hard white cabbage – around a quarter or half a medium one
  • 1 eating apple – red skinned is nice for colour
  • 1 onion – I like to use a red one for colour
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice – optional
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

I always start by grating the carrot using a large grater and then cut the cabbage into fine strands so that I have equal quantities of orange and white.  Put these into a large mixing bowl.

IMG_20150719_075813054

I find that 1 carrot is often enough for the amount I need. In the photo below 2 carrots were used to make a larger amount of salad.

IMG_20150719_081639225_HDR

  • Chop the onion into small pieces and add this to the bowl.
  • Grate the apple including the skin and add this to the bowl.
  • Add several tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix well to coat the mixture.
  • You might want to add a little lemon juice to make the mayonnaise a little thinner.
  • Add some salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with cold smoked Polish style meats or sausage or with a hot roast or casserole as a good contrast.

IMG_20150719_092914473

Gołąbki – Cabbage Rolls – with Mushrooms

I have tried this out as a just vegetable variation.

In my Polish cookbooks there are many variations without meat and they use mushrooms or other vegetables and grains,  but these tend to use just dried mushrooms and often rather than rice use buckwheat or pearl barley.  Whilst these grains are maybe more traditionally Polish in style I wanted to do a recipe which would initially be more appealing to the English taste.  Also   I wanted to use mainly fresh mushrooms.

Ingredients for the filling

150 to 200g of rice

400g of mushroom caps – white and/or chestnut

Some butter to fry the mushrooms

5g of dried mushrooms (more if you desire)

A few tablespoons of boiling water

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

In a small bowl add the boiling water to the dried mushrooms , just enough to cover them, and leave overnight.

IMG_20150718_151854083
Stepped Dried Mushrooms and Chopped Fresh Mushrooms

Parboil the rice and leave to go cold. (You can use any already cooked rice you might have cooked already – it is not that critical  – it will just have a softer texture).

Finely Slice up the mushroom caps (You can chop them into smaller pieces) and fry them in the butter until they are soft. IMG_20150718_151816584_HDR

Making a Pulp of Mushrooms
Making a Pulp of Dried Mushrooms

Using a knife make a pulp of the dried mushrooms or chop them into small pieces if they have not softened enough.

Add the mushroom pulp and the liquor in which they were steeped to the frying mushrooms and continue cooking the mixture evaporating of most of the liquid or about 10 minutes.

Leave the mushrooms to cool.

In a large bowl mix the parboiled rice and mushroom mix, add salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_20150718_153612430
Mushroom & Rice Mixture

Prepare the cabbage leaves

You need a large white cabbage or a savoy cabbage or I have now started using sweetheart cabbage  – you might need 2 of these as they are not usually so large.

kapusta 3

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 too 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 – I think this method is the one I like best.

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. Pre heat the oven to GM3 – 160oC

Fill the leaves with the rice & mushroom  mix and roll them up from the stalk end, tuck in the sides and secure with the outer edge of the leaf to make a small parcel.

IMG_20150718_174133971 IMG_20150718_174128711 IMG_20150718_174225478 IMG_20150718_175505963 IMG_20150718_174715721_HDR

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.

If you have any extra cabbage leaves place these 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 vegetable stock  and pour this over the cabbage rolls.

Ingredients for Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock  – I like to use the Swiss  Marigold Bouillon vegetable stock powder which is in a tub mixed with boiling water

1 tube of tomato purée

2 bay leaves

3 or 4 peppercorns or allspice or both.

salt & pepper ( note there might be enough salt in the stock cube)

Mix up the stock powder in a jug with boiling water, add the tomato purée and then the rest of the ingredients. You need a large amount to cover the cabbage rolls.

Pre heat the oven to GM3 – 160oC

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 a 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.

ser18 ser16 ser22ser15

Note

Wigilia – Christmas Eve

I will be writing a post all about the special meal on this day later when all the dishes are meatless.

This recipe is one dish which can be served then.

 

Gołąbki – Cabbage Rolls -with Mushroom Sauce

Cabbage Rolls in the style of Dom Polonii in Kraków.

Kraków
Kraków
Kraków
Kraków
Kraków

In Kraków, just off the main square (Rynek Główny), there is a building called Dom Polonii (The House of the Poles).  It is a medieval tenement building and hosts Chopin concerts in a lovely room with a grand piano on the first floor. I have enjoyed listening to many concerts there. On the ground floor there is a small restaurant.  On my trips to Kraków I have found that  I eat there the most as it is very reasonably priced and the food  is very much like home cooking.

They serve gołąbki there which are cooked without  tomatoes and then served with a creamy mushroom sauce.

IMG_20150718_224019030

The following is my recreation of this recipe.

First I made the gołąbki as in my previous post but without tomato purée in the cooking stock but adding some lemon juice as this prevents the leaves from falling apart too quickly.

I will give a quick re-cap of this recipe at the end of this post.

Then I made  a mushroom sauce and served the gołąbki with this poured on the top.

Mushroom Sauce

I looked through my Polish cookbooks and many of the mushroom sauces are made with just dried mushrooms.  These are delicious and have a strong flavour however it works out very expensive and are not available everywhere.

I am going to  give instructions for a sauce using fresh mushroom and just a small amount of dried mushroom.

I will give 2 versions of this mushroom sauce, the first using dried mushrooms, the second a mushroom stock cube.

The best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik or prawdzik, in Italy porcini.

IMG_20150704_130001024

IMG_20150704_130013474

kapusta 14
Knorr – mushroom stock cubes

In Poland there are now mushroom stock cubes which are very useful especially for making sauces.  Years ago I brought loads back to England, now you can find these in the many Polish food shops. The ones I use are made by Knorr and are shown on the photographs in this post.  These stock cubes contain a small amount of dried mushroom extract.

kapusta 10

The 2 sauces have the same starting points it is the addition of reconstituted mushrooms or stock cubes for the extra taste which is the difference.

Mushroom sauce 1 – using dried mushrooms

Ingredients

150g fresh button mushroom caps – white and/or chestnut

5g of  dried mushroom (around 3 slices)

500ml hot boiling water

1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour

3 tablespoons of milk

2 large tablespoons of soured cream.

butter to cook the mushrooms in

salt & pepper to taste

Method

You have to start this sauce the night before or in the morning for use in the evening.

Cover the dried mushrooms with 500ml of boiling water and leave to soak.

 

Preparing Dried Mushrooms
Dried Mushroom in Hot Water
Dried Mushroom in Hot Water

 

 

 

 

 

The following day take out the reconstituted mushrooms and using a knife you can chop then up into tiny pieces or if the are soft enough you can  spread out the pulp on a chopping board.

Reconstituted Mushrooms
Reconstituted Mushrooms
Making a Pulp of Mushrooms
Making a Pulp of Mushrooms

Slice the mushroom caps into fine slices and fry them gently in some butter till they are soft.

Add the dried mushroom pulp and the liquor in which they were seeped.

Simmer gently for about 5 to 10 minutes.

sau3

In a little dish mix the cornflour with the milk.

Add the cornflour mixture to the cooked mushrooms and stir gently over the heat until the sauce thickens.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and add the 2 large spoonfuls of soured cream and mix well in.

sau5

Note

None of these amounts are exact – they are a rough guide depending on what you have – you can use more water, milk or soured cream and so on.

Mushroom sauce 2 – using a mushroom stock cube

Ingredients

150g fresh button mushroom caps – white and/or chestnut

500ml hot boiling water

1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour

3 tablespoons of milk

2 large tablespoons of soured cream.

butter to cook the mushrooms in.

note

I rarely have to add any more salt or pepper as the stock cube has enough seasoning in it.

Method 

Dissolve the stock cube in the hot water.

Preparing a Mushroom Stock Cube
Preparing a Mushroom Stock Cube

Slice the mushroom caps into fine slices and fry them gently in some butter till they are soft.

Simmer gently for about 5 to 10 minutes.

In a little dish mix the cornflour with the milk.

Add the cornflour mixture to the cooked mushrooms and stir gently over the heat until the sauce thickens.

Remove from the heat and add the 2 large spoonfuls of soured cream and mix well in.

If you can get the stock cubes then version 2 is the quickest.

Basic gołąbki recipe without tomatoes

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

salt & pepper

2 bay leaves

3 or 4 peppercorns or allspice or both

juice of 1 or 2 lemons.

*As you need whole largish cabbage leaves I sometimes use 2 cabbages to get the bigger leaves. Recently I have started to use Sweetheart cabbage which has large leaves on the outside but you will most likely need 2 of these.

Instructions from my Polish cookbook
Instructions from my Polish cookbook “bible”

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.

Pre heat the oven to GM3 – 160oC

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.

 

IMG_20150718_175505963IMG_20150718_174225478

IMG_20150718_174727954

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 stock with hot water and lemon juice 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.

I always think these taste better when made a day before hand and left for the liquid to seep in more and then reheated in the oven as required.

IMG_20150718_224006079
In the style of Dom Polonii

Sprinkling some chopped dill or flat leaf parsley on the top will be even better (Sadly I did not have any  on the day of this photograph).

Gołąbki – Cabbage Rolls

 

Kuchnia Polska - Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

My Polish Cookbook “bible”

A Selection of Polish Cookbooks
A Selection of Polish Cookbooks

grz4

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.

gol 3

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.

IMG_20150715_182332084

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Bigos

Bigos is often called Poland’s national dish. It is Poland’s sweet and sour dish using sweet (fresh) cabbage and sour(fermented) cabbage (sauerkraut).

Quick Bigos

This is a smaller, quicker version than the traditional bigos recipe.

I often make it somewhere  in between the traditional recipe and this quick recipe as all the amount are very flexible.

If you can only get large jars of sauerkraut then you can put half the contents into a plastic bag or box and freeze it for later use.

Getting Ready to Cook Bigos
Getting Ready to Cook Bigos

kapusta 3

Bigos
Bigos
Bigos
Bigos

Ingredients

500g sauerkraut (1 small tin or jar or half a large jar)

300g fresh white cabbage – 1 small head or half a large head

100g of Frankfurters or Polish Ring

100g smoked bacon

1 large onion

100g tomato purée (1/2 tube)

20g plain flour

2 bay leaves

3 to 4 peppercorns

sugar or lemon juice to taste – optional

fat/oil to fry in

note – salt should not be needed as the sausage and bacon contain salt.

Finely chop the fresh cabbage into long strands and place in a large pan with the sauerkraut.

In a jug mix the tomato purée with some hot water and then add this to the pan. Add more boiling water to cover the cabbage mixture.

Add the bay leaves and peppercorns and then boil gently till the cabbage is becoming soft.

Slice up the various smoked sausages, chop the bacon into small squares and add to the cabbage mixture and boil gently till everything is soft.

Chop the onion into small pieces and fry till golden, add the flour and fry till the mixture is just about to burn and then add this mixture to the bigos.

Adjust the sourness to taste with sugar and or lemon juice.

Now you can either heat it all together gently over a low heat with a lid on the pan, stirring the mixture occasionally or put the mixture into a large oven proof dish (I use an enamelled dish) with a lid and put it in the oven at GM 4 – 180oC for about 2 hours.

Bigos tastes better if made one day, left overnight, and then reheated in a saucepan or in a dish in the oven.

Note

Bigos freezes well – I portion it up into manageable portions which will serve 2 or 3 – wrapping it in plastic bags within a plastic box to prevent the tomato staining the plastic.

Serving

Bigos is usually served with rye bread but I often serve it with boiled or mashed potatoes.