Polish Cooking

Nov 3, 2016

Easy Potato Soup

easy_potato_soupEven when it’s not cold outside, I still make my potato soup. Russet potatoes are best for this creamy comfort food and it only takes 1/2 hour to make. Cutting the potatoes into small 1/2-inch pieces helps it cook quickly and I always have my homemade chicken stock in the freezer for soups and stews. You don’t need cream to thicken this soup, only a little flour is all it takes.

Another thing I always have on hand is my (low fat) sour cream. Don’t all Polish people have sour cream at home? It seems like we eat everything with sour cream… cabbage rolls, pierogi, borscht, and potato soup. I always stir sour cream into this soup just before eating and if you want the full Polish experience (zupa ziemniaczana ~ but we called it zupa kartoflana) top it with a little freshly chopped dill. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 8, 2016

It’s National Pierogi Day!

Polish Pierogi

Click here for my recipe. – Jenny Jones

Smacznego!

Sep 24, 2015

Hunter’s Stew is Polish comfort food

Polish Hunter's Stew (Bigos)1200_5672 copy

My dad used to make hunter’s stew but he called it kapusta, which means cabbage in Polish. Hunter’s stew, also called bigos, is based on sauerkraut  and it usually has added meats including kielbasa. This recipe does not belong only to Poles. There are many varieties of hunter’s stew in eastern Europe but they almost all include sauerkraut and various meats.

Bigos has been around for centuries. People used to cook big pots of this stew for hours, even days, adding all kinds of meats from beef, pork, ham, sausages, venison, even rabbit – after all it was a “hunter’s” stew.

I’ve been working on finding a simpler way to make bigos and now I’m sharing my own recipe, which doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or a lot of work, and there is less focus on meat and more focus on the sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, mushrooms, and lots of flavor.

The recipe starts with store-bought sauerkraut and the best kind to buy is the one they sell in the refrigerated section and I use store-bought chicken cooking stock (unsalted) because there is plenty of salt already in the sauerkraut. I have also made my hunter’s stew with homemade beef stock but I am not a fan of store-bought beef stock, only chicken.

Hunter’s stew, like most stews (and like me) gets better with age 🙂 so try to make it a day or two ahead and let it marinate in the refrigerator before serving. Some people serve it with rye bread but we always had it with mashed potatoes. The strong flavors of the stew and the mild potatoes goes really well together.

It takes a lot of chopping and shredding but otherwise, this dish cooks with virtually no effort after that. Smacznego. – Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Feb 16, 2015

Happy Pączki Day – Fat Tuesday

Healthy Jelly Doughnuts

Tuesday, February 17th is Pączki Day!  It’s a day celebrated by most Poles by eating as many pączki as you can in preparation for the following day, Ash Wednesday, the traditional start of Lent, when many Catholics start fasting until Good Friday. So if you’re going to binge on pączki today, why not keep it healthy and bake them? My recipe is easy and you can fill them with custard or jam… I even fill some with my chocolate pudding recipe. (a single pączki is called a pączek.)

Oven Baked Paczki

So Happy Pączki Day, everyone. And Szczęśliwa Pączki Dziennie to my Polish friends!  Oh, and Happy Fat Tuesday to everyone in New Orleans. That’s about the happiest place to be today. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Dec 18, 2013

Polish Faworki – Chrusciki

Best Recipe Chrusciki Christmas in Poland isn’t official until someone makes chrusciki. These powdered sugar crullers are actually pretty easy to make but if you don’t have a rolling pin it’s not going to happen because the key is to roll the dough paper thin. Chrusciki are the only things I deep fry because there is no other way to make this light-as-a-cloud cookie – I guess that’s why they also call them angel wings. So I’m sharing my recipe for these Polish Christmas cookies but it turns out they are not just Polish. Here is what they’re called in other countries:

Belarus – хрушчы (chruščy) or фаворкі (favorki)
Croatia – krostole
Denmark – klejner
France – bugnes
Germany – raderkuchen
Hungary – csöröge
Italy – bugie, cenci, chiacchiere, crostoli, frappe, galani, sfrappole
Lithuania – žagarėliai
Malta – xkunvat
Romania – minciunele, regionally: cirighele, scovergi
Russia – хворост (khvorost)
Sweden  – klenäter
Ukraine – вергуни (verhuny)

Merry Christmas to all you cooks out there and thank you for all your comments and notes. I do appreciate the feedback. I hope you’ll try this show-stopping, delicious holiday cookie. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Dec 4, 2013

Polish Poppy Seed Roll

 PoppySeedRoll_600

There are no words to describe the fabulous flavor of this traditional Polish holiday bread we call Makowiec. The filling is a distinctive combination of ground poppy seeds, orange and lemon peel, and ground toasted almonds. I love this bread! I grew up with it! It’s perfect for afternoon tea or as a light dessert.

My recipe is pretty easy to make but you will need to grind the poppy seeds and I found an easy way to do that. I bought a spice & nut grinder (Cuisinart) and it grinds the poppy seeds and the almonds. Until I discovered the grinder, the only way to grind the seeds was to use an old fashioned meat grinder that you clamp to the counter and crank with your hand. I tried a food processor and a blender but neither one did the job. But it’s really easy with the spice grinder.

The bread is sweet and the filling is to die for! After baking, you can drizzle the loaf with a glaze or another option is to brush it before baking with either melted butter or with an eggwash and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  My recipe requires only one rise and if your filling seeps out a little when it’s done, that happens a lot so don’t fret over it. It will still taste great. My how-to video for this awesome bread will be up next week.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Nov 13, 2013

Beet & Cabbage Borscht

Borscht_600

I absolutely love my beet & cabbage borscht. It has a complex flavor but is really easy to make. You basically put all the ingredients in a pot and cook. It’s the best soup I know to restore electrolytes and boost your immune system.

Every time I make this soup, I devour it in no time. I think your body knows when it’s getting something super healthy and yesterday I had two big bowls of it for dinner – nothing else. We Polish people usually add a little dollop of sour cream to our borscht. My dad had his own way of eating it. Instead of adding diced potatoes to the soup, he would make a side of mashed potatoes and put some potatoes in his spoon, then dip it in the soup so every bite had mashed potatoes and delicious borscht. Yummm.

Beets alone are an anti-aging powerhouse. They are said to stabilize blood sugar & cholesterol, support the liver & urinary tract, and help fight heart disease and cancer. The rich variety of other vegetables can protect against prostate, lung and other cancers, heart disease, macular degeneration and memory loss.

Winter’s coming and that’s soup season. Try my beet and cabbage borscht on the next cold night but don’t wear white when you’re making it. Beets turn everything red. Even…. well…. you’ll see the next morning. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Apr 18, 2013

Try my Easy Potato Pancakes

PotatoPancakes_600My dad used to make the best potato pancakes but my recipe has a secret he never knew – it’s in how you drain the potatoes. Also, his method took some work but that was before food processors were invented. I used to help him grate the potatoes on a box grater but now, thanks to my food processor,  I have an easy way to make fantastic Polish placki kartoflane and mine are healthy, never greasy, and super easy. If you don’t have a food processor, you can prep the potatoes old school style, grating by hand, and you’ll still get the best potato pancakes ever.

I’ve given up ordering these at a deli because they’re practically deep fried! Mine use very little oil because you don’t need it. To me, they’re best with a little (reduced fat) sour cream, and when you have leftovers, save them for breakfast. My mother used to slice up the  leftovers and cook them into scrambled eggs for an awesome breakfast, which is what I’m having right now! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 20, 2013

Homemade potato gnocchi

recipes_homemade_gnocchi_600It only takes three ingredients to make tender delicious potato gnocchi. My dad was the cook in our family and he used to make Polish kluski which I later learned are also known as gnocchi. The Polish way to serve them is with fried bacon and onions but nobody needs to do that any more! I prefer gnocchi Italian style as a side dish with red sauce or as a main dish topped with my homemade bolognese sauce. Anything you can do with pasta, you can do with gnocchi and it’s a pretty simple recipe. Plus they freeze beautifully. Click here for the recipe.  (p.s. Does anyone make these with ricotta cheese? I’m looking for a recipe.) – Jenny Jones

Feb 9, 2013

Polish Cabbage Rolls

I’ve decided to make my fantastic cabbage rolls for my next video. It’s one of my best dinner recipes which I learned from my dad who made this traditional Polish dish all the time. My favorite way to serve them is browned in a little olive oil with a dollop of sour cream on the side. My Polish cabbage rolls video should be up in the next couple of weeks. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Polish Stuffed Cabbage

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