Soup Garnishes & Accompaniments

Soup plays such huge part in Polish meals and I will be writing much on the subject soon (I could write a huge book on Polish soups alone).

Soups are usually served with some sort of accompaniments or garnish.

Some soups have traditional accompaniments but every cook will improvise with what they have.

These accompaniments include a wide variety of pasta and noodles, dumplings, rice, potatoes, croutons, hard-boiled eggs, pulpety (little meatballs) chopped, cooked sausage and crispy fried bacon and so on ….  the list is endless.

Many of the soups to which these are added are of the clear consommé type.

Pasta, Noodles & Rice

Very small pasta shapes are used or larger pasta is cut into small pieces.

The pasta, noodles or rice are all cooked beforehand and a small amount is placed in the soup dish and hot soup poured over them to serve.

 

 

Often  a small amount of pasta, noodles or rice is kept back from when they are being cooked for another dish – these are best kept in the fridge.

 

 

 

Cold boiled rice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Croutons – Grzanki made with rye bread

 

 

These are sprinkled on top of the soup when serving.

Semolina – Kasza manna

The Polish for semolina is manna as in the bible, Exodus 16:1-36,  when the Israelites ate manna from Heaven.

This can be made with coarse or fine ground semolina.

Mix 150g of semolina and 1/2 teaspoon of salt with cold water to make a thin paste.

Place the mixture in  saucepan and heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon.

As the mixture starts to thicken keep adding more water and continue heating and stirring.

Do this for a couple of minutes.

When you have a thick paste pour it onto a cold plate and leave it  to go cold.

 

 

When cold, the semolina is cut into cubes and these are placed in the bottom of the soup dish and hot soup poured over them.

 

 

 

Lane kluski

This translates as poured noodles.

My mother made these often when I was young.

Beat 2 eggs and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.

Slowly mix in 6 tablespoons of plain flour until the mixture is like thick cream.

To cook them,  slowly pour batter into salted boiling water.

Cook for around 2 minutes and remove them with a slotted spoon  and place in a colander.

You can cook these by pouring the batter into the hot boiling soup and  then serve immediatly.  However the starch can make the clear soup cloudy.

 

 

 

Uszka

Mushroom filled Polish pasta – known as ‘little ears’ are added to barszcz – beetroot soup.  Often served on Wigilia  – Christmas Eve.

3 or 5 are usually added.

 

Kopytka

Little Polish potato dumpling (gnocci) – cold cooked ones can be cut up into smaller pieces for the soup.

 

 

 

Pancakes

 

Rolled up pancakes are thinly sliced and add to the soup.

 

Pulpety

Small boiled meatballs can be added

 

 

Chopped hard boiled eggs

 

 

 

 

The chopped eggs are sprinkled on top of the soup or several pieces ‘floated’ on top  of the soup when serving.

Krokiety

These are made using  pancakes which are filled with  sauerkraut &  mushrooms, meat or cheese then folded and rolled, then dipped in bread crumbs and fried.

I have found a firm that has these ready made for frying and I think they are good.

I fry them in quite a lot of oil on both sides and then put them in the oven at GM4 – 180°C for around 20 minutes.

I have not made them from scratch myself – I  must do this soon .

Photo  below from my Kuchnia Polska book,1971

Kuchnia Polska, 1971 – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasztecik

This is similar to an English sausage roll, often made with a yeast dough pastry, and filled with pasztet (paté),  meat, sauerkraut &  mushrooms or cheese.

Photos  below from my Kuchnia Polska book, 1971

I have eaten these in Poland in cafes and restaurants but not made these myself – something  else to try out soon.

Bread

Bread can be served with soup – it is usualy not buttered.

 

Bean Salad

Bean Salad with Apple & Hard-boiled Eggs

As I was trying out some herring salads I came across the following mixture which worked so well together.  I decided it would make a good salad mixture on its own.

Originally this would have been made with soaked and then boiled haricot beans  – for ease I use a tin of baked beans from which the sauce has been washed off.

Ingredients

1 tin of haricot beans (tinned beans (410g) with the tomato sauce washed off , rinsed and patted dry).

1 thinly sliced then chopped onion

2 chopped (red skinned) apples

3- 4  chopped hard-boiled eggs

2-3 tablespoons of  mayonnaise ( full fat is the best here)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

 

 

Method

Prepare all the ingredients

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

You can sprinkle chopped flat-leaved parsley on top when serving.

 

 

 

 

 

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 varaitionons 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 drydried

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Chopped parsley & chives

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

 

A Little Caper!

Capparis spinosa is the caper bush.  The plant is best known for the edible, unripened  flower buds – capers – kapary (in Polish)  which are often used as a seasoning and are usually  pickled in brine, vinegar or wine.

These perennial plants are native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Their use dates back to around 2,000 BC  where they are mentioned as a food in Sumerian literature.

The caper buds are picked by hand which can make the cost of a small jar expensive.

Pickled nasturtium (Tropaeolum maius) (nasturcja in Polish)  seeds – often called poor man’s capers are a good substitute.

Cooking With Capers

Capers have long been used in the Mediterranean region especially  in Italian cooking.

Capers are usually  added to the dish toward the end of the cooking process, to keep their shape and flavour.

Sos kaparowy – Caper sauce

This is very popular in Poland and is made with chopped capers and mayonnaise  and is served with hard-boiled eggs.

Potato Salad with Capers

This is my variation of the classic Polish potato salad with caper  sauce.

Ingredients

200g  waxy potatoes

100g whole green beans

100g peas

2-3 spring onions – green part

2 tablespoons of capers – drained

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise – home-made or a good full fat bought variety

1 tablespoon of made up mustard

Salt & pepper

2 – 3  hard-boiled eggs

Method

The potatoes, green beans and the peas all need to be boiled or steamed, drained and then dried as much as possible using a clean tea towel.

I usually use starchy potatoes for potato salad but have found that waxy ones are better for this one.

Chop the beans into small pieces.

Chop the green parts of the onion into fine pieces.

In a bowl mix the cooked and dried vegetables, the capers and the spring onions.

 

 

 

 

Mix together the mayonnaise and the mustard.

I have found that the lighter sort of mayonnaise soon makes this salad have a watery dressing after a very short time. It is better to use home-made mayonaise or a good bought one – I use Hellmann’s.

 

 

 

Mix the vegetables with the dressing and add salt & pepper to taste.

Chop the hard-boiled eggs and scatter these on the top of the salad to serve.

 

 

 

Served here in a bowl by Meakin  –  Cadiz  – 1964  – 1970

 

Salad With Leeks

The recipe for this salad with leeks  was given to me by one of my cousins in Białystok, Poland.

This salad goes well with cold meats & smoked Polish sausages, but with all its ingredients it can even be a little meal on its own.

Vegetable names in Polish

Leek in Polish is por & in Italian it is porro

Many vegetable names in Polish have origins in Italian, this is because when, the Italian Princess, who became Queen Bona of Poland on her marriage to King Zygmunt the Old, came to Poland in the 16th Century with her chefs she introduced many vegetables into the Polish diet – the most notable being the tomato . Because of this many of the Italian names or slight variations of them have become the names used in Polish.

There is also Włoszczyzna – which means Italian  stuff  – is it used in Polish cookery all the time – it translates as soup vegetables  and is mixture of: carrots, celeriac or celery leaves, leek or onion, parsnip or parsley root & parsley leaves & sometimes savoy cabbage which is used as the base for many soups and casseroles.  When written in a recipe every Polish cook will know what it is though some may have different versions of the mixture.

Although this is not an old Polish recipe it is certainly in the traditional Polish style with cooked vegetables and hard boiled eggs.

The chopped hard boiled eggs  to garnish is very much in the tradition of à la polonaise.

Cheese is used in this recipe and is the type that is called  ser zółty yellow cheese and is of the semi-hard type such as Edam, Gouda or Massdam from the Netherlands  which you can buy in England.

Gouda – The Last Thursday In August – 2013

The last Thursday in August is always the  last cheese market of the year in Gouda.

Red kidney beans and sweetcorn are also used in this recipe. Now my father would never eat sweetcorn – he considered it fit only for animal fodder – as this was what it would have been used for in his youth!

Ingredients

You can vary the quantities to what you have available – the ones below are for guidance.

2 leeks  – the white part finely chopped

1 tin of red kidney beans – drained

I small tin or half a large tin of sweetcorn – drained

“Yellow” cheese such as Edam, Gouda or Maasdam – chopped into small cubes

2 hard boiled eggs – very finely chopped or grated.

3 tablespoons of mayonnaise

2 teaspoons of ketchup or tomato purée

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

In a large bowl mix together the leeks, red kidney beans, sweetcorn & cheese.

In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise and ketchup or tomato purée.

 

Mix the  dressing with the vegetables combining it all well.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Place the salad into a serving bowl and sprinkle the chopped or grated hard boiled eggs  over the top.

The serving dish is Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982-1998.

 

 

 

 

Palm Sunday & Holy Saturday

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter and marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Palms are blessed in church on this day to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

Of course palm trees do not grow in Poland and so other plants are substituted. Often pussy willow  is used as the catkins are usually out around this time. My mother always called pussy willow – palma – the Polish for palm.

 

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Twigs For Sale in the Old Square in Kraków

 

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Palms are also made from  dried grasses and corn which are often dyed to make them colourful or from coloured paper which is rolled and the edges cut to make a fringe.

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In many villages the farmers would make huge palms for the procession completing with each other to see who had the biggest and best.

The Main Square in  Kraków – Decorated with Large Palms

 

 

It is still Lent in Holy Week so the food eaten is simple and often meat, butter and egg free. Most baking and cooking done now is to make food to eat at Easter.

As well as going to church services it is a time for houses to undergo a massive clean-up especially inside.

Holy Saturday is the last day of Lent – the day before Easter.

This is the only day in the Catholic year on which Mass is not celebrated.

In Poland there is the tradition on this day to have the food for Easter blessed.

This has its roots in the early medieval church in the 12th Century and the food would have originally  been just bread and eggs.

In times past in villages the priest would have gone around to people’s houses and blessed the food there. Nowadays people bring a basket of food to the church and the food is blessed with Holy Water and is then taken home and not eaten till the Easter Sunday Breakfast.

Once blessed this basket is called święconka meaning  that which has been blessed

The basket is lined with a cloth – often white linen and sometimes embroidered.  A white linen cloth is used to cover the basket. These cloths represent the white shroud in which Jesus was wrapped.

What goes into the basket depends on several factors but hard boiled eggs and bread are usually present. Everything in the basket has a symbolic meaning.

Eggs –  Christ’s Resurrection – a symbol of life.

Bread – Christ as the Bread of Heaven.

Salt –  Preservation & Purification & Zest for Life

Horseradish – The Harsh & Bitter sacrifice of Christ.

Cooked Meat & Sausage – Joy & Abundance of God’s mercy.

Babka – The risen  dough  – this represents the Risen Christ.

Shaped Lamb (butter/cake/bread) – Christ – The Lamb of God -(see Lamb Bread)

Cheese – Moderation.

Butter – End of Lent.

Getting a basket ready to take to Church

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See Babka

 

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People coming & going to church in Kraków with baskets of food.

 

 

 

Food for sale for Easter in Kraków.

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The special meal at Easter in Poland is the Easter Breakfast –  although it is a lot later than a normal breakfast being usually around 11am

This meal is a cold buffet and includes the food that was blessed in church on Easter Saturday.

The hard boiled eggs are cut up into quarters or eighths and they are shared between everyone present  at the start of the meal.

POSTSCRIPT

Since posting I received the following photographs from my friend in Leeds who is The Director of the Polish Saturday School.

Sugar Lambs to go in the basket for blessing.

 

Salt Dough Lambs – made for the Easter Fair