Even 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
Almost every time I make Polish pierogi, one or two don’t make it. They come apart when I boil them because I unknowingly left an opening or a little hole when I sealed them up. But not today. Every single one was perfect! I made 27 piroshki and they all survived.
We had them as a side dish for dinner with chicken and some brocolini although when I was growing up, pierogi was the entire meal… along with fried onions, bacon bits, and lots of sour cream. So I had a little sour cream and onions but I skipped the bacon bits.
Whoever invented the concept of mashed potatoes wrapped in dough, I thank you. Next I’ll be working on a sauerkraut-mushroom filling. Yummm! But potato & cheese pierogi will always be my favorite. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
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
I’ve been craving cabbage rolls for days so I made them yesterday but I’m eating them today. They always taste better the next day so I like to make them the day before. This time the cabbage was a little small so it made twenty little bundles of goodness filled with ground sirloin, rice, tomato, and mushrooms. The mushrooms are optional but I think they add a nice extra flavor. And I like to use different liquids to pour over the rolls for baking. This time I used some tomato but other times I just use water from boiling the cabbage. I’ve even topped them with sauerkraut and its juice for baking and they were great.
When my dad made these we always had them with sour cream so today I browned them in a little olive oil (my dad used butter) and had them with reduced fat sour cream and yummmmm!!!! I remember my mother used to make cabbage rolls (golabki) and she even liked them cold – just stick one on a fork and there’s your snack. Polish cabbage rolls is one of my most viewed videos – I never expected that. Here’s the recipe.
For dessert I made my apple pie bars.
It’s less work than apple pie but just as tasty, made with 2 pounds of Granny Smith apples and my healthier and easier oil crust. It’s the same crust I use for all my pies, including chicken pot pie. Ooooh, chicken pot pie sounds so good – I may have to make it tomorrow. Back to my apple pie bars. There’s an ongoing debate in this house about whether these are apple pie bars or a square apple pie. I don’t care what we call it as long as we get to eat it. Here’s the recipe and that’s what I cooked today. …just sharing… – Jenny Jones
I always wondered if cabbage rolls made with red cabbage would turn out and now I can report on my experiment. I already knew from eating lots of cabbage salads that red cabbage is a little tougher than the green one. That turned out to be true even when the leaves are softened for cabbage rolls. I boiled the whole head of red cabbage for ten minutes, just like I do the green one for my cabbage rolls. The leaves didn’t seem soft enough so I put them back in for another few minutes and they seemed a little softer. I then proceeded as usual, cutting off the thick spine to make them easy to roll.
The main difference occured when rolling. I made both green and red ones so I could really compare and the green leaves rolled up beautifully and didn’t tear or break. But some of the red ones tended to break and crack so I had to patch the crack and then roll up my golabki. So the red leaves were a little harder to work with but I must say they do look good.
And the taste? Wonderful, just like the green ones. So my summary is… if you are making cabbage rolls for the first time, stick with the green cabbage. The soft leaves will be easier to roll and you will be confident in making them again. If you make them in red, just be prepared for a little extra work if they tear but that can happen with green leaves too. When it happens, you remove the filling, lay an extra piece of a cabbage leaf over the tear, fully covering and overlapping the tear, then add your filling and roll it up.
Cabbage rolls made with red cabbage make a beautiful presentation and once they are cooked, the red rolls are just as tender as the green ones. So there is my report. I will definitely make red cabbage rolls again if only for the reaction I’m sure to get when I put them on the table.
My Polish cabbage rolls recipe has been very popular and I’m thrilled with the number of people who have made and love them. Over 1/4 million people (update February 2021 – over 15 million!) If you haven’t made stuffed cabbage yet, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
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
It only takes three ingredients to make soft and tender potato gnocchi. My Polish dad was the cook in our family and he used to make them and called them kluski which I later learned are the same as Italian gnocchi. In Poland they are called kopytka and 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 herefor the recipe. – Jenny Jones