Włoszczyzna – Italian Stuff

When Italian diplomats who spent time in Poland in the 15th century wrote about Polish food, they complained that it was based mostly on meat and many said that – One Pole eats as much meat as 5 Italians.

Tomatoes and many other vegetables  were brought to Poland in the 16th century by the Italian chefs who came with the Italian Princess Bona Sforza who married the Polish King, Zygmunt the Old in 1518.  Many of the names of vegetables in Polish have Italian roots.

To this day, soup greens* are known as włoszczyzna  or “Italian stuff”.

Włoski is the Polish word for Italian.

Some writers say that vegetables other than cabbage and root vegetables were virtually unknown in Poland until  Princess Bona  introduced them, and her cooks helped to bring in the use  of vegetables in royal Polish cuisine;  however records show that the court of King Jagiello (who died in 1434) enjoyed a variety of vegetables including lettuce, beets, cabbage, turnip, carrots, peas and cauliflower.

*Soup Greens is a phrase found in American cookery writing – I have not really seen it in British writing.

Soup Greens are a vegetable stock basis for soups and other  vegetable or fish dishes.

(They are also the vegetables that are used in any casserole type dish).

In German they are known as  suppengrün and in French mirepoix.

The Classic Ingredients are:

Carrots

Leeks

Celeriac

Parsley root

if these are not availabe then use:

Onions

Celery leaves

Parsley stems and leaves

and also  – Bay leaves, Allspice grains, Peppercorns & Salt

Note

The ingredients for

Suppengrün  are carrots, celery, leek and for Mirepoix  are carrots, celery, onions

Often in Poland (and yesterday in my local Polish shop in England) you can buy a ready mixed packet of  the vegetables needed.

 

 

Method

Place all the ingredients in a large pan with water.

Bring to the boil and cover.

Simmer until the vegetables are soft.

Strain the vegetables from the liquid.

 

 

 

Note

If this is being made for a soup  that day,  then some of the vegetables such as the carrots might be sliced and added to the soup.

or

The liquid is kept in glass or plastic containers in the fridge for another time.

If you have no time or ingredients then a very good standby is

Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder.

 

 

 

Note

This post was written in preperation for the huge topic of Soup in Polish Cookery!

This has now been written – here is the link

Zupa -Soup

Caraway & Dill & Parsley

When I think of Polish cooking three popular herbs which always spring to mind are caraway, dill and parsley.

They all  belong to the Apiaceae family which includes  carrot and celery. 

This family is also called  Umbelliferae (from the Latin – umbella  – for parasol or sunshade) – the flower heads consists of umbels  which have equal length flower stalks coming from a central point which forms a flattened head – rather like an umberella.

Carum carvi is caraway –  kminek – in Polish.

It  is native to  Europe,  North Africa & Western Asia.

Caraway – Drawing taken from Wikapedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caraway  fruits are often called seeds.

Caraway is thought to be an aid to digestion.

In 2011 Finland supplied over 25% of the world’s caraway.

 

 

 

Caraway is often added to rye bread, to dishes with sauerkraut and also many meat dishes,  especially pork, such as Sauerkraut & BaconPork & Prunes  and  Pork & Sauerkraut Gulasz.

Caraway  is often  added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese)

 

Anethum graveolens is dill – koperek  – in Polish.

Dill is grown for its leaves, which are fern like, and its seeds.

Dill leaves are  best when used fresh  (I never bother with dried dill).

 

 

 

 

 

Dill  leaves are used as a topping for many salads and for boiled new potatoes.

 

 

 


Dill leaves are added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese) and smetana (soured cream).

Dill leaves are used in sauces including ones served with fish.

 

 

Dill seeds are similar in flavour to caraway seeds.

Dill seeds are used in dill pickles –    – which are cucumbers preserved in brine – Ogórki – Gherkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name of the Polish astronomer  – Copernicus  in Polish is  Kopernik (so in Polish he is Mr Dill!)

Petroselinum crispum is flat leaf parsley – pietruszka –  in Polish

Flat Leaved Parsley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopped flat leafed parsley  leaves are added as a garnish or topping for many salads and savoury dishes.

 

 

Petroselinum crispum tubersum

This is Parsley root or Hamburg parsley.

Flat leafed parsley is also grown for its white tap root which looks a lot like parsnip and is also used in  Polish cookery, often added to casseroles.

I have seen this for sale in Polish markets, you might find it in the larger Polish shops that have fresh produce.

20180314_172735

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parsley root grated with apple or pear and with added lemon juice is one suggestion for a fresh salad.