Tartar Sauce

  • Sos tartarski  is a classic cold sauce in Poland.
  • Books say that this is a French sauce but they must have been influenced by Polish ingredients!
  • Usually served with fish (hot or cold) or hard- boiled eggs.
  • Very easy to make especially if using bought mayonnaise.
  • Use the best bought mayonnaise – full fat not the reduced type. 
  • I usually use Hellmann’s mayonnaise.
  • Soured cream and lemon juice can also be added.
  • Amounts are not fixed but you are aiming for a soft dropping sauce.

Ingredients

  • 4- 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 2 -3 gherkins
  • 1-2 tablespoons of capers
  • 1-2 tablespoons of soured cream
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • *
  • Some chopped fresh dill to serve – if available.

Method 

  • Mix the mayonnaise, soured cream and lemon juice to a soft dropping density.
  • Chop the gherkins into small pieces.
  • Stir the chopped gherkins and capers into the mayonnaise mixture.
  • Put the sauce into a serving bowl and sprinkle the dill on top.

Fish Pierogi

  • I decided to try these after making fish pulpety, which were so good.
  • I adapted the filling slightly.
  • I used frozen basa fish but cod or haddock would also be good.
  • I have not made pierogi with a fish filling before – the verdict – delicious!

Ingredients – Filling

  • 150-200g cooked white fish
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1 slice white bread or a small bread roll
  • 1 tablespoon of dried breadcrumbs
  • Chopped flat-leaved parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • *
  • Melted butter – to serve

Method – Filling

  • Fry the onions gently in the butter till golden.
  • Leave the onions to cool.
  • Make crumbs from the white bread.
  • Chop the fish into small pieces.
  • Mix the ingredients together.
  • Season to taste.
  • Use the filling to make pierogi *in the usual way.
  • *
  • *Quick recap of pierogi instructions below

To Serve

  • These are good served just with the melted butter.
  • I also liked the gently refried ones, in the butter, the next day.

*Pierogi Instructions

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g pasta flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk

Method – Dough

  • In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.
  • Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave to rest for about ½ an hour.
  • *
  • Cut the dough into half.
  • Prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean cotton or linen tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.
  • On a floured board roll out the dough a half at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.
  • Cut out circles using a 7 cm diameter cutter.
  • The excess dough can be re-mixed and rolled out again.
  • Around a half tablespoon of filling is put on  each circle and then they are folded over and the edges pinched together to make a good seal.
  • You learn from experience how much filling to put in as too much will make it hard to seal them and if not properly sealed they will burst on boiling.  Do not worry if you have a few mishaps – it still happens – even with experience – it is hard to salvage one that has gone wrong – just accept that there will be a few that you do not cook.
  • Place the sealed pierogi on prepared tray until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.
  • *
  • To cook the pierogi, use a large pan of boiling water to which you have added some salt and a drizzle of oil.
  • Drop the pierogi in one by one and allow them to boil.  I usually do about 5 to 6 at a time.
  • As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 minutes and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain and serve with melted butter.
  • Continue boiling batches in the same water.
  • If you want to make all the pierogi to serve together then you need to get a large oven proof dish.
  • Melt lots of butter in the dish.
  • Keep the dish warm in a low oven.
  • As you take out the cooked pierogi add them to the dish and coat them with the melted butter.
  • Keep on adding more as they cook.

Fish Soup

  • I thought that this soup would be excellent for Good Friday.
  • The base is a simple vegetable soup with mainly “green” vegetables and a few carrots.
  • You can vary the vegetables that you use.
  • Any white fish will be good and  you just need small pieces.
  • Where my late father used to live the small river formed part of the border between the then Poland and Russia.
  • He would often catch river fish, which he really liked.
  • I am sure he would have enjoyed this soup. 

Ingredients

  • 150g white fish  (Basa, Cod or Haddock)
  • 1 onion 
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • ½ tin of sweetcorn
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1½ litres of vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons of soured cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

  • Chop up the onion and leeks.
  • Fry them gently in the butter.
  • Chop the celery into thin slices.
  • Chop the carrots into small pieces.
  • Mix all the vegetables together and add the stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer till nearly soft.
  • Cut the fish into small pieces and add them to the soup.
  • Simmer till the fish is cooked.
  • Stir in the soured cream.
  • Season to taste.

 

Royal Doulton Burgundy Soup Plate

Optional – If you use more fish you can serve this more as a main dish .

Fish Pulpety

  • There are several Polish saying around fish.
  • My father used to say – ryba lubi pływać – which translates as – “Fish likes to  swim”  -this means – “You have to have a drink when eating fish” or  “You have to eat some fish when having a drink (of alcohol).”
  • If one gets an invitation  –  na rybkę (for a little fish)  – it means  – “come over for a drink (and some fish).
  • A third one translates as  – “Fish, to taste right, must swim three times – in water, in butter and in wine”.
  • *
  • Pulpety are usually little “meat” balls – cooked by simmering in stock. 
  • Here they have been made with cooked white fish.
  • They can be served with sauces or dips or served in soups.

Ingredients

  • 150g cooked white fish
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 30g white breadcrumbs – moistened with a little water or stock if available
  • 1 tablespoon of dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of  plain flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • *
  • Plain flour for shaping balls

Method

  • Mix fish, onion and bread together using a mincer or mini chopper.
  • Add eggs, dried breadcrumbs, flour and salt & pepper.
  • Make small balls using flour to coat.
  • Boil in salted water or vegetable stock.

Option

  • Fry the chopped onion in a little butter first.
  • Served alone –  add your favourite sauces or dip.
  • Served in a light “green” vegetable soup.

 

Herring Salads

Salted herrings are very, very popular in Poland, they have been a staple in Northern Europe since Medieval times as this was the way to preserve and transport fish – usually in barrels.

Śledź is the Polish word for herring.

Matjes herrings (matjasy in Polish) are young herrings which are caught throughout May and June before they start spawning in July.

The way that they are prepared originated in The Netherlands and the name comes from the Dutch word maagd which means maiden(because they are young fish).

Often you will see the phrase à la matjas – this means that they are in the style of the matjes herring but they will be a slighty older fish and not as expensive .

Salted herrings need to be soaked, often for up to 24 hours, in water to remove some of the salt.

I have used already prepared à la matjas herrings and I think they are still too salty – so I take the fillets out of the oil they are packed in and put them in milk for 10 to 15 minutes (you can do longer) and then pat them dry and slice them.

 

These herring salads are often served as an hors d’oeuvre (zakąska in Polish – something to bite after), appetizer, entrée or starter.

They are usually one of the dishes served at Wigilia (Christmas Eve).

Thinly sliced onions are a must to serve with the herrings!

Simple Herrings 1

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herrings
  • Thinly sliced onion
  • A little lemon juice

Simple Herrings 2

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herrings,
  • Thinly sliced onion
  • Chopped gherkins (ogórki).
  • A little liquor from the gherkin jar

Simple Herrings 3

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herrings,
  • Thinly sliced onion and
  • Sliced (red skinned) apple
  • A little lemon juice

Herring Salads

The dressings used are: lemon juice, mayonnaise (full fat is best here), soured cream and horseradish – on their own or as a mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not given quantities – exact amounts are not critical.

Herring & Apple Salad

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herring
  • Thinly sliced onions,
  • Chopped (red skinned) apples
  • Dressing

Herring & Potato Salads

The following salads are variations on  classic Polish potato salads.

Herring, Potato & Gherkin

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herring
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Cold boiled or steamed,chopped potato,
  • Chopped gherkins
  • Dressing

 

Herring, Potato, Gherkin & Hard-boiled Eggs

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herring
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Cold boiled or steamed,chopped potato,
  • Chopped gherkins
  • Chopped hard-boiled eggs
  • Dressing

 

Herring, Potato & Peas

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herring
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Cold boiled or steamed, chopped potato,
  • Cooked peas
  • Chopped hard-boiled eggs
  • Dressing

Herring, Potato, Peas & Hard-boiled Eggs

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herring
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Cold boiled or steamed, chopped potato,
  • Cooked peas and dressing
  • Chopped hard-boiled eggs
  • Dressing

Herring, Apple, Bean & Hard-boiled Eggs

When I first saw this recipe I was not sure how the beans would go with the rest of the ingredients.  Having tried it,  I think the taste combination is wonderful!

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced herring
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Chopped (red skinned) apples
  • Haricot beans  – tinned beans  with the tomato sauce washed off , rinsed and patted dry
  • Chopped hard-boiled eggs
  • Dressing

Chopped parsley & chives

All of the salads can have chopped flat-leafed parsley and/or chives sprinkled on top.

 

Updated April 2020