The Polish Chef Polish Mardi Gras fare

Here are some delicacies you might consider serving at the paczki balls, Mardi Gras dances and home entertainment during this years season of pre-Lenten merriment.

PRUNE-STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN
(poledwiczki wieprzowe nadziewane sliwkami):

Split pork tenderloin lengthwise without cutting through (or have your butcher do it for you). Spread meat out on board and pound thicker places with mallet to even them out. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and marjoram, spread surface with 1 c or so whole pitted prunes, roll meat up and fasten with skewers or tie with string. Dust with flour, shake off excess on brown on all sides in hot lard or oil. Place on rack in open roasting pan, add 2 c water to pan and bake in 350F oven 80 min or until tender, basting occasionally. Let stand several min before removing skewers or string and slicing. Combine pan drippings with enough water to make 3 c. Add 1 crushed beef bouillon cube, 1 T white dry wine and 2 t cider vinegar and bring to boil. Thicken with a little flour and simmer briefly. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram if necessary. Serve with cooked buckwheat groats (kasza gryczana) or rice and the following salad.

CUCUMBER & TOMATO SALAD
(surowka z ogorka i pomidorow):

Assemble several tomatoes and onions and a cucumber or two of roughly equal circumference. Peel and slice the onions and cucumbers and slice the tomatoes. On a lettuce-lined serving platter arrange even rows of overlapping, alternating cucumber, tomato and onion slices. Fork-blend 1 c sour cream (or plain low-fat yogurt) with juice of 1/2 a lemon and salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar to taste. Pour dressing down the center of each row, garnish with some chopped chives and (optional) 2 chopped hard-cooked eggs and dust with paprika. Serve at once, as long standing can makes this salad ‚soupy’.

HUNTER’S BIGOS
(bigos mysliwski):

Soak 1 oz dried bolete mushrooms in 1-1/2 c water several hrs, then cook in same water until tender, chop, return to liquid and set aside. Drain 3 qts sauerkraut, reserving liquid, rinse in cold water, drain again, squeeze dry and coarsely chop Place in pot with 1 bay leaf, cover with cold water and cook uncovered about 60 min, stirring occasionally. Transfer drained sauerkraut to baking pan and add some or all of the following: 2 qts various cooked cubed meat (beef, venison, pork, veal, turkey, duck), 3 c smoked Polish sausage (or other deboned, cubed smoked meat like ham, ribs, hocks), the mushrooms and their liquid, 1 c stewed tomatoes, chopped, 1 c pitted prunes, chopped, 1/2 c dry red wine, 2 buds crushed garlic, 2 diced large cooking apples. Toss in ingredients to blend and bake uncovered in 350F oven 30 min. Mix again, cover pan and bake another 2 hrs at 325F. After switching off heat, leave bigos covered in oven until it cools to room temp. Refrigerate over night. Reheat at 325F for 90 min before serving. If bigos appears too moist, dust with 1 or more T flour, mix well and bake another 15 min. If the bigos is not as tart as you want, stir in a little reserved sauerkraut juice. Season with salt, pepper, marjoram and crushed juniper. Serve with mashed or boiled whole potatoes or rye bread.

TRIPE SOUP POLISH STYLE
(flaczki):

If you don’t want to cook raw tripe for up to 4 hrs, get 2-1/4 lbs. fully cooked tripe at your meat market. If it is uncut, cut the tripe into thin strips 2″ – 3″ long. Scald with boiling water to cover and cook 10 min., then drain. Place the tripe into 6-7 c beef stock, add a portion of soup greens sliced into matchsticks and cook on med. until vegetables are tender. Dissolve 3 T flour in 1 c of the stock and return to pot, simmer briefly. Season to taste with salt, pepper, marjoram, paprika and several gratings of nutmeg. Many people like their flaczki on the spicy side, so provide some Tabasco or cayenne pepper on the side. Serve with good rye bread and ice-cold vodka. Note: Tripe can also be served as a kind of stew over boiled potatoes or noodles. Simply decrease the amount of beef stock and thicken with a little more flour if desired. Note: Those short of time should consider heat & eat trip available at Polish delis. For instance, ‚Flaki Zamojskie’ (Zamosc tripe), are imported from Poland in jars, require heating and are quite tasty just as they come.


 

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FAVORS, ANGEL WINGS, BOW-KNOTS
(faworki, chrust, chrusciki):

Four-blend 1/4 sour cream, combine with 2-1/3 c flour and heap on board. Make a well at center and drop into it 6 raw egg yolks, 2 pinches salt 2 t baking powder and 2 T grain alcohol or 100 vodka. Combine ingredients and work into a uniform dough. Roll out thin on lightly floured board and cut with pastry wheel into 2″ x 5″ strips (for larger faworki) or 1-1/2″ x 4″ (for daintier ones). Make a vertical slit in each strip and pull one of the ends through it to form a bow. Gently brush any excess flour from faworki and fry them in deep, hot (350°) lard or shortening (about 2 lbs) to a light golden-brown, turning once. Transfer to absorbent paper and dust with confectioner’ sugar.

CARNIVAL ROSETTES
(roze karnawalowe):

Combine 3-1/2 c flour with 2 T soft butter, 3 T sour cream, 6 raw egg yolks, 1 T grain alcohol or 100 proof vodka and a pinch of salt, Work into a dough, knead well and beat with rolling-pin until air bubbles appear. Roll out as thin as possible and cut with glasses or biscuit-cutters of different size into an equal number of 1-1/2″, 2″ and 2-1/2″ rounds. Cut 6 slits round the edge (towards center) of each round and form each rosette my placing the largest on bottom, dabbing a little egg white at center, sticking on a medium-sized round, dabbing with egg white and topping with the smallest round. Press down at center with thumb to stick rounds together. Fry like faworki in hot fat on both sides and transfer to absorbent paper. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and place a cherry (from drained cherry preserves) at the center of each.

POLISH DOUGHNUTS
(paczki):

Mash 2 cakes fresh yeast in bowl and dissolve in 1 c warm milk. Sift in 1 c flour and 1 T sugar, mix and let stand in warm place to rise. Beat 8 raw egg yolks with 2/3 c confectioner’s sugar, a pinch of salt and 1 t vanilla until thick and fluffy. Into egg mixture sift 2-1/2 c flour, add the risen yeast leaven, 2 T grain alcohol or 3 T 100 proof vodka and work ingredients into a dough by hand or with dough-mixing appliance. Knead well by hand, gradually adding 1/4 lb. soft butter a little at a time. Dough should be kneaded until it no longer sticks to hand or sides of bowl. Cover with cloth and let stand in warm 75F), draft-free place until doubled in bulk. Roll out on floured board 1/3″ to 1/2″ thick. Cut into rounds and place a spoonful of thick jam, rose-hip preserves, fruit filling or drained cherry preserves at center of each round and fold in half. Pinch open end together to seal and gently roll between hands snowball-fashion to make them round. Place sealed-side-down on floured board and let rise in warm place until doubled. Fry in batches so p1czki do not touch in hot 375F lard or shortening (about 3 lbs.) to a nice golden-brown on both sides. Transfer to absorbent paper. Glaze with icing made by combining 1-3/4 c confectioner’s sugar, juice of 1 lemon and several T boiling water. Before icing sets, sprinkle p1czki with finely chopped candied orange.

RASPBERRY-FLAVORED TEA
(herbata z sokiem malinowym):

Instead of the imitation-raspberry teas on the market these days, simply add 1-2 T pure (preferably Polish imported) raspberry syrup to each glass or cup or hot tea. For an added kick, add 1/2 – 1 jigger vodka to each serving. Other fruit syrups (cherry, blueberry, currant, strawberry, etc.) may be used but lack the medicinal properties of raspberry syrup which helps relieves colds.

HERBATA Z RUMEM
(rum-flavored tea):

To each glass or cup of hot tea, sweetened to taste, add a little freshly-squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 – 1 jigger rum. Note: vodka plus several drops of rum extract may be used if real rum is not available..

MULLED BEER
(piwo grzane z korzeniani):

In pot combine 1 qt beer, 4 T sugar, 1 bay leaf, 2 pinches of cinnamon and ground cloves and (optional) a pinch of pepper. Heat to just below boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar and serve. Increase or decrease sugar and spices according to taste. Note: Instead of sugar, mulled beer may be sweetened with fruit syrup or honey. Mulled juniper beer

MULLED WINE
(grzaniec):

In pot combine 1 qt dry red wine, 5 – 6 T. sugar, a grating of nutmeg and a pinch or two of cinnamon and ground cloves and heat to boiling. You can also use a sweet red wine, in which case omit or decrease the amount of sugar.

Robert Strybe

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