Cześć

Cześć (hello),

Today we are eating in Poland.  Their food is hearty and comforting.

Polish cuisine (kuchnia polska) is a style of cooking and food preparation originating from Poland. It has evolved over the centuries. Polish national cuisine shares some similarities with other Central European and Eastern European traditions as well as French and Italian. It is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef (depending on the region) and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices. Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. The traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation. Many Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to serve and enjoy their festive meals, especially Christmas Eve dinner (Wigilia) or Easter breakfast which could take a number of days to prepare in their entirety.  Take a look at this site.  I am fascinated by the food we know today and how it has evolved.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_cuisine

These would be my kind of people.  Hearty food that is very involved to prepare.  I love holidays when I can plan and cook for a week!  The two recipes I chose for today are a little involved and very hearty.  I hope my friends are hungry.

Poland first participated at the Olympic Games in 1924, and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games since then, except for the 1984 Games, when they participated in the Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics. Poland has also participated in every Winter Olympic Games.

Polish athletes have won a total of 261 medals in both the summer and winter games, with track and field events are the most successful. Poland is the third most successful Eastern European country (after Hungary and Romania) of these who have never hosted the Olympics.

62 gold medals, 80 silver medals and 119 bronze medals.

This looks like a very good dessert or breakfast bread.  Not too sweet, but the dough and filling together with a cup of hot tea would be perfect.  Give it a try.  I can see a little Polish grandmother (babcia) kneading the dough and patting it into a perfect rope to bake for her family.  Actually I can see my mother’s mother (Grandma Pilk) doing that very thing.  She could make homemade noodles in one sweep of a knife have them cut and flipped on the back of a chair to air dry.  She was such a sweet little lady.  And she made good food.  From good German stock!

Cheese Babka

Dough:

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 pinch white sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110°)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

Cheese Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups farmers cheese (a dry cottage cheese)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Sprinkle the yeast and the pinch of sugar over the warm water; stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Combine the 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, milk, and 3 eggs in a bowl with 1 cup of flour and mix well. Add the yeast mixture and beat for 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding small amounts of flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Shape the dough into a round, and place it in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Filling:

Beat together the farmers’ cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, sour cream, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and almond extract in a bowl until smooth. Set the filling aside. Lightly oil a 10-inch fluted tube pan (such as a Bundt®).

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 10-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Spread the cheese filling evenly over the dough. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, starting from the long end; twist the dough 6 to 8 times to form a rope. Pinch the seams and ends closed and arrange the rope of dough in the greased pan. Cover loosely and let rise 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 350°.

Bake the babka until deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes; invert the babka onto a wire rack and remove the pan. Allow the babka to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.

Footnotes

  • Use a farmers’ cheese that resembles very dry cottage cheese; do not use the      slicing cheese that is also called farmer cheese or Amish farmer cheese.  Put in a strainer or colander lined with cheese cloth to allow the liquid to drain.  You should do this overnight.
  • If you have a silicone Bundt® pan, it will work wonderfully in this recipe

 

Potato Pierogies [peer-Oh-Gees]

Potatoes.  Yummy.  What can be wrong about this Polish tradition?  Potatoes wrapped in a dough?   A great way to use leftover potatoes. And very inexpensive to make.  They do go fast.  If you are late to the table you may get a few scraps.

Dough

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • water, as needed depends on how dry flour is

Filling (traditional)

    • your favorite mashed potatoes
    • sautéed onions
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
    • sour cream

Use a food processor with the blade and pulse flour and salt.  Add eggs and cream cheese and run processor till crumbly about 20 seconds.  Then through tube slowly add lukewarm water till dough comes into a ball.  Process 6 seconds. If sticky just add a little more flour. Let rest 20 minutes.

Roll half the dough on floured surface to about 1/16 inch thick.  Cut out 5 inch circles using a glass or cookie form.  Fill each circle with about 2 tablespoons of filling.

Fold over making sure edges are sealed.  If dough won`t seal lightly brush water on edges and pinch together.  Continue till all dough and filling is used up.

Cook in salted boiling water with olive oil. Cook no more than 10 at a time do not over crowd.  Stir to avoid sticking. About 3 minutes.

Remove with slotted spoon and place in bowl. Add sautéed onions and butter to coat. Repeat till all are cooked.

You can serve with sour cream.

After boiling you can also pan fry in butter and onions and thyme till golden brown.

Now I didn’t actually make these.  I browned them in a skillet with butter and served them the sautéed onions and sour cream.  They were originally frozen.  I believe the fresh made would be more tender and the mashed potatoes could have been flavored with bacon.  But they were good anyway.  I even tried one with Grandma Jo’s Salsa.  Yum!  Blending of cultures, you know what I mean?

Szczęśliwy Gotowanie  (Happy Cooking)

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