How do you pickle cucumbers? What can you make with a salted herring?
How do you bake beetroot? What is poppy seed? What Polish regional potato dishes
This book has the answers. It presents the richness of Polish cuisine through
foodstuffs widely used in Poland for centuries. To show how to break away from the
stereotypical view of Polish cuisine, reduced to pierogi and schnitzel, we show how to
serve extraordinary Polish dishes in a contemporary way – light, beautiful and tasty.
The chefs invited to join in this project are Poland's most talented cooks,
who study and rediscover traditions, reach for forgotten foodstuffs and present them
in a creative, modern way. Memories of the "milk bar" (cheap, fast, self-service eating
place with a non-refined menu, typical in Polish cities before 1989) blend with the taste
of home cooking and the most exquisite haute cuisine.
For ambitious kitchen maestros, fresh, seasonal ingredients are crucial. They
try to squeeze the entire unique taste out. Some chefs use molecular techniques – they
transform familiar dishes in surprising ways using new technologies, creating new flavours and forms.
On the other hand, the book aims to preserve Poland’s culinary heritage by
supporting small producers who make local specialities and reviving Polish culinary
and craft traditions.
The presentation of regional and traditional foods is connected with bringing family, local and regional traditions closer. We show what distinguishes Poles and
their cuisine from others, and how to weave Polish traditions into the culinary culture
of other nations. In other words – we present ambitious culinary variations on Polish
themes, which can be created in the average kitchen, by even beginner cooks.
We invite you to play with flavours, discover Poland through its specialities,
and include these in your culinary repertoire.
Wojciech Modest Amaro
Chef of Atelier Amaro in Warsaw.
Good pickled cucumbers are hard, crisp, firm and intensely
sour. They should not have holes or be swollen. They contain lactic acid, which improves digestion, and preserves and reconstructs
healthy intestinal microflora.
Cucumbers are best pickled in a stone vessel. Once, oak barrels were used and kept cool – in cellars or in swift-flowing rivers. To
pickle cucumbers well, you need good quality vegetables, preferably
from your own garden, good water, salt, garlic, horseradish, bay leaves,
and dill. The simplest method of pickling is to lay the cucumbers and
spices layer by layer. To ensure that the pickles are still good in winter,
the cucumbers should be pickled before the end of their season –
late August or early September – when they are not yet stained or
Poles eat pickled cucumbers for dinner as a side dish, e.g.
with buckwheat groats and goulash. Pickles are also traditional appetisers eaten with herring in oil and onion, and with vodka. Pickles
can be a soup base. Their intensive flavour improves the taste of salads,
e.g. vegetable or smoked mackerel salad. Pickles can also be found in
exquisite dishes. Karol Okrasa (Platter/Warszawa) serves grilled zrazy
(thin slices of chopped beef ) prepared with seasoned meat, dried bacon, and pickled cucumbers cut in slivers, served with green lentils
with chanterelles, sprinkled with marjoram sauce, and seasoned with
Wojciech Modest Amaro, a chef who eagerly experiments
with contemporary gastronomic techniques, prepares foam from pickled cucumbers, agar jelly and pickle water. Although he finds cucumber soup on oxtails best, he also recommends a variant with fish.
Cucumber soup with fish
• 1.5-2 l fish consommé prepared with 400 g
white fish fillet (sole, halibut, cod)
• 4 sprigs parsley
• 3 sprigs fresh marjoram
• 2 medium-sized carrots
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 leeks (white parts)
• 3 grains allspice
• 5 shallots
• juice of ½ lemon
• 1-2 cloves garlic
• 5 nice, hard pickled cucumbers (peeled)
• 2 ribs Pascal celery [peeled]
• 1 fresh trellis cucumber
• 3 medium-sized new potatoes
• 150 ml whipping cream
• 1 bunch fresh dill
• salt, black pepper
Fry the chopped shallots and garlic in hot olive oil until they turn translucent. Add
chopped leeks, celery and carrot and stew for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Pour
fish consommé, lemon juice and bring to the boil. Skim the soup, and add the allspice,
bay leaves and sprigs of parsley and marjoram, all tied up together. Cook on a low heat
for about 30 minutes, and then add the peeled and grated pickled cucumbers. Cover
the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Set the soup aside to cool down, and remove the
spices. Peel the trellis cucumber, remove the pips and grate. Sprinkle with salt, season
with black pepper and mix with cream. 10 minutes before serving the soup, cut the fish
fillet into small portions, season with salt, cover with chopped dill and put into soup
plates. Boil the soup. Pour 200 ml into a separate vessel, and stir with cream mixed with
grated cucumber. Then pour the cream back into the pot, boil and pour into the dishes.
Decorate with pickle foam and borage flowers.
• 200 ml water from pickled cucumbers
• 1.2 g soy lecithin
Blend the ingredients. Wait 30 seconds until the foam sets, and place on top of the soup.
Certified chef, French living in Poland,
founder of the Academy of Molecular Cuisine.
Poland is the world’s seventh largest producer of strawberries. Many varieties are cultivated, including Polish ones such as Kama,
with very tasty berries, and Dukat, with evenly coloured berries which
travel very well. A novelty in Poland is the French Darselect – a typical
dessert variety, with large, juicy berries. We all like big, red, heartshaped strawberries – completely irresistible.
Strawberries contain a lot of vitamin C (60 milligrams in
100 g; a lemon has 50 mg) as well as vitamins B1, B2, A, almost all
macro and microelements, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. These berries are low in calories – a kilogram has only 400
kcal. They should be eaten on an empty stomach as they cleanse and
detoxify the body. Strawberries are always delicious whether sprinkled
with sugar and decorated with a dash of cream, with champagne, or in
refined dishes – with spices. E.g. strawberries with pepper can complement a beef sirloin or a summer salad with spinach and gorgonzola.
Strawberries can be combined with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil
and chilli. In Poland they are traditionally used to make filling for
pierogi, or kompot (drink made of fruit boiled in water with sugar).
They are irreplaceable in a range of desserts, e.g. sponge cake with jelly
and milk shakes. Strawberry preserves – conserves, jams, mousses –
are widely loved. Their sweet-sour flavour goes perfectly with pancakes
or fresh buns and croissants. Strawberry conserve may be used to make
a sauce for duck if you add a bit of balsamic vinegar and pepper.
Strawberry lovers can go strawberry picking in Kashubia,
at the foot of Złota Góra, in late June or early July every year. The
Strawberry Feast is accompanied by a festival, parties and concerts.
Strawberry gazpacho with yogurt
• 500 g (Polish) strawberries
• chilli oil
• 250 ml still mineral water
• olive oil
• 50ml yogurt
• 1 sprig rosemary
• 30 ml cream
• 1 sprig thyme
• 1 tsp sugar
• 2 tsp sugar
• juice from ¼ lime
• 1 lime
• 0.5 g xanthan (food thickening agent)
Dice one fifth of the strawberries. Blend three fifths of the strawberries with water. Deep
fry the thyme and pick the leaves. Blend them with the sugar and strawberry puree, then
add the lime juice and chilli oil. Finally, add the champagne and water. Mix yogurt,
cream, xanthan, sugar and lime juice. Put the diced strawberries into a glass, pour the
yogurt over, add the strawberry puree, and decorate with rosemary.
Chef of Ancora restaurants in Kraków
Oscypek (plural: oscypki)
Salty sheep's milk cheese made in the Tatra mountains
region (Podhale). The production of oscypki is the task of the head
shepherd (baca) pasturing ewes. About 40 thousand sheep graze in
Podhale. One flock comprises around 600 animals. Every sheep must
be milked three times a day. It takes 6 hours work by several more
junior shepherds (juhas) to do so. The pastoral culture is gradually disappearing, since selling sheepskin and wool has become unprofitable.
It is hard work, performed exclusively by hand, requiring precision,
skill and experience.
The name oscypek is reserved for cheese made of sheep's
milk (with the possible addition of Polish red cows' milk, up to 40%),
produced in mountain huts (bacówka) in selected communities in
Lesser Poland and Silesia. Oscypki must be spindle-shaped, weigh 600800 g and measure 17-23 cm. The cheeses are hung in mountains
huts, below the ceiling, so the smoke from the hearth can reach them.
Oscypek is smoked for a period of between 3 days and 2 weeks. It is
worth mentioning that only head shepherds (baca) have earned the
right to sell oscypki. This cheese is recommended by the Slow Food
organisation. Since 2008 the recipe has been protected by the European Union.
Oscypek can be served cold (usually with cranberries) or
grilled. In mountain huts, bunc is also made – it’s fresh cheese made
of sheep's milk, as is bryndza – containing rennet.
Flakes of oscypek
with caramelised beetroot
• 400 g oscypek
• ¼ tbsp spicy paprika
• 200 g beetroot baked in aluminium foil
• 6 cloves marinated garlic
• 50 g skinned hazelnuts
• 50 g walnuts
• 100 g brown sugar
• 2 spring onions with chives
• 3 tbsp apple vinegar
• 2 tbsp grated marjoram
Cut the oscypek into thin slices. Peel the beetroot and cut into small cubes. Caramelise
half the sugar in a pan and fry the beetroot cubes in it. Add the marjoram, vinegar and
pepper. Leave to cool. Cut the nuts into halves. Caramelise the other half of the sugar
in the pan. Add the nuts, stir, and lay on a tray to cool. Mix the nuts with the beetroot,
add the chopped garlic cloves and spring onions. Season with salt. Pour the mixture on
the slices of oscypek and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.
Chef of Piotrkowska 97 restaurant in Łódź.
The most important fruit – alongside pears, plums, cherries
– in Poland. Apples can be divided into dessert varieties, grown for
eating raw, and those for making preserves. Some can be used both
ways. In contemporary orchards a dozen types, known globally, are
usually grown. In Poland, before the Second World War, over 50 types
of local apple were grown. Thanks to diversification, they were picked
over the whole season. The Papierówka variety fruited in early summer, Sierpniówka in late summer, and Antonówka in autumn. Some
apples could survive the whole winter in a ‘clamp’, and they were a precious source of vitamins in the pre-harvest period. In Poland there is
a saying that "Granddad plants the best orchard", since 40-50 year-old
apple trees give the best fruit.
Among old varieties of apple trees, some are still popular.
Among others: Papierówka, with a pale yellow skin, Golden Russet
– sour with a spicy aftertaste, and Kosztela, with a green skin and
very sweet flesh, great to eat raw. In Chrystkow, Kujavian-Pomeranian
Province, there is a collection of old Polish local apple tree varieties
from the Lower Vistula Valley region.
Apples are the basis of many cakes, e.g. apple pie – fruit tart
on shortcrust pastry. Apple mousses, jams and kompot (a refreshing
drink made of fruit boiled in water with sugar) are popular as well.
Apples go well with poultry, too. They are a traditional addition to
roast duck. Stewed apple accompanies fried chicken livers, or kaszanka
(Polish blood sausage made of meat, offal, blood and groats). Apple
can be an ingredient in salads, e.g. with goat’s cheese and cranberry.
Racuszki – little sweet pies with apples are also a popular Polish dish.
Thanks to molecular cuisine techniques, a fruit may be
transformed into caviar – jelly balls, or spherical ravioli – capsules
with the apple flavour trapped inside. A waiter pours hot, smooth
celery cream on the caviar and ravioli, intricately arranged on a plate.
Polish flavours turned upside down are also delicious!
Apples in white wine
• 4 big apples (Belle de Boskoop)
• 500 ml dry white wine
• 100 g brown sugar
• 40 g butter
• 4 scoops plain ice cream
• fresh mint
Wash and peel the apples, cut into parts. Pour the wine into a pan; add the sugar, butter, cinnamon and apple. Stew the fruit until tender. Place on a big plate. Serve with
ice cream and mint.
Chef in Copernicus Hotel in Kraków.
One of the oldest Polish alcoholic beverages; known even
before Christianisation. To produce a good quality mead, you need
honey, yeast, water, herbs and... time. Meads acquire outstanding
taste after several years of aging.
Mead is an alcohol produced by fermenting wort – here
a solution of honey and water. The best mead is półtorak. The name
derives from the Polish półora (one and a half ), since it is made in
proportions of one part honey to a half part water. This mead matures
for about 10 years. Dwójniak consists of one part honey to one part
water, and is known as royal mead. Trójniak and czwórniak are weaker,
and need less time to mature. Meads produced by natural methods are
worth seeking out. Examples are the meads made by Maciej Jaros from
Łazisko near Tomaszów Mazowiecki, recommended by Slow Food,
an international non-profit organisation protecting culinary heritage
and supporting small regional producers of traditional foods.
In cookery, mead is usually used for desserts, e.g. to soak raisins for stuffing baked apples, or for drizzling on ice cream. It can be
also used for seasoning meat with fruit. Adam Chrząstowski (Ancora
Restaurant, Cracow) adds czwórniak to fried veal liver with a dried
Mead tastes great on its own after a generous meal, served
in a cognac glass. In winter it can be drunk hot with spices and wild
flower honey, in a thick mug.
Frozen nut nougat
with Sandomierskie apples
• 5 Sandomierskie apples
• 100 g walnuts
• 70 g sugar
• 3 eggs
• 40 ml mead
• 10 g caster sugar
• 150 ml double cream
Place 50 g of sugar in a pan and heat until it turns into amber-coloured caramel.
Then add walnuts, and move them around to coat them evenly with caramel. Pour
on a wooden chopping block and wait until they cool down. When cold, chop them
with a big knife. Whip the cream and leave in the fridge. While the cream is chilling,
separate egg whites and yolks. Beat the yolks with sugar and whisk the whites with
the remaining sugar. Then gently mix all the ingredients (cream, egg whites, yolks,
and walnuts) until they make a smooth mass. Drizzle with mead. Spoon the dessert
into moulds and freeze.
Chef in the Sheraton Hotel restaurant in Warsaw,
culinary coordinator of Warsaw hotels
from Starwood Group.
Fine poppy seeds resemble specks of vanilla. In Poland, buns
are sprinkled with poppy seed for flavour and decoration. Poles associate poppy seed with sweetness.
Makowiec (poppy seed roll) is the second most important
festive cake after gingerbread. The difference between a festive cake
and an everyday one lies in the proportions – Christmas cake has
thin layers of dough and a thick filling. Groats with poppy seeds and
honey, known as kutia, is eaten as a sign of peace in the Christmas
period. Kutia is a delicacy of the East – once it was eaten east of the
Vistula River. This dessert used to be made of barley – the ‘divine seed’,
seasoned with honey – symbolising sweetness, and poppy – bringing
peace and rest (since large amounts of poppy seed induce sleep).
Poppy seed contains about 60% precious oil. In Poland,
poppy seed oil was pressed for use by the royal court during Wladyslaw Jagiello’s reign (15th century). Cold pressed oil is rich in Omega-3
and Omega-6 fatty acids, which the human body cannot produce. It
gives salads a special flavour, and can also be used for baking or adding
to cakes. It was also used by painters. White paint with poppy oil does
not turn yellow; and so it was widely used in the 19th century.
The seed is obtained from poppy pods – decorative heads
with caps on long stems.
• • • • • • • • 120 g wheat
75 g poppy seeds
25 ml buckwheat honey
25 ml linden honey
15 g fresh ginger
40 ml Goldwasser vodka
25 ml orange juice
20 g orange peel (blanched and cleaned)
• • • • • • • 20 g sugar
30 g hazelnuts
20 g dried figs
20 g dates
30 g raisins (dark and small)
40 ml rum
20 g dried cranberries
Rinse the wheat thoroughly, soak in four times the amount of water for 6 hours and
cook on a low heat to soften. Soak the dates in rum a day before the figs and raisins.
Cook the milk with honey and very thin strips of peeled ginger on a low heat. Cut
the orange peel into long thin strips and caramelize it in sugar with orange juice. Add
the cooked ginger. Cook the poppy seed in half of the milk, then grind it, adding
buckwheat honey. Add the poppy, chopped dried fruit (dates and figs), raisins and
hazelnuts to the wheat. If the cranberries are not dry, add them without soaking. Add
the Goldwasser vodka and decorate with orange peel and ginger.
Chef in Boutique Hotel Platinum Palace in Wrocław.
A typical Polish foodstuff; probably the oldest preserved
food. To prolong the storage of vegetables, they were pickled. This
process not only preserved them, but also – thanks to lacto-fermentation – gave them germicidal and regenerative properties. Sauerkraut
is a rich source of vitamin C. Watered down sauerkraut juice enhances
the appetite and has strengthening features.
The main ingredient of sauerkraut is white cabbage, especially the Stonehead variety. To pickle a cabbage, the stalk is removed from
the head and the leaves are shredded. Traditionally, shredded cabbage
was put into wooden barrels, sprinkled with rock salt, and crushed
with a wooden baton. The cabbage was often trodden by a member
of the household who stepped into the barrel barefoot having washed
their feet – as still happens in Italian or Spanish vineyards, where at
the start of grape harvesting the juice is squeezed from the grapes with
Sauerkraut is commonly used in Poland. It’s perfect as a salad
with carrot and oil, and it can serve as a filling for pierogi with cabbage
and mushrooms; it can be stewed with pork sausage or served fried
as a side dish with a pork loin chop. Sauerkraut is also the base for
sauerkraut soup, known as kapuśniak. In the Tatras, kwaśnica soup
is popular. It is cooked on sauerkraut juice with smoked ribs, goose
or mutton. Another traditional Polish dish is bigos – a one-pot meal,
cooked for a long time, made of sauerkraut, meat, cuttings of cold
meat, sausages, dried plum, raisins, alcohol (e.g. red wine or Madeira),
and spices. Bigos tastes best after a few days, having been cooled and
Sauerkraut soup (kapuśniak)
• 1 pig’s trotter
• 200 g smoked bacon
• 400 g sauerkraut
• 40 g dried mushrooms
• 1 parsley
• salt, pepper
• 2 l water
Pour the cold water over the trotter, bacon, parsley and mushrooms and cook for 2
hours. Strain the extract, peel the trotters and sort out the mushrooms. Add chopped
sauerkraut to the extract and cook for 30 minutes. Add peeled meat cut into pieces,
with bacon, mushrooms, and caraway, and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt
Chef of Bulaj restaurant in Sopot.
Herrings inhabit nearly every sea in the world. Herring is
the most commonly fished species, and has been known since ancient
times, thanks to the easy storage of the fish if it is salted. In Poland,
herring in oil with onion is the most popular appetiser served with
(well chilled) vodka. Wojciech Modest Amaro (Atelier Studio/Warszawa) is the author of a recipe for "Herring of the 21st century". This
is a piece of marinated fish, painted with edible gold, served with
a salad of onion and green Granny Smith apples, chives and grated
horseradish, with a drop of plum stone oil. On the top, Amaro puts
spherical kopytka (Polish gnocchi) with passiflora and a drop of lemon. He uses avant-garde techniques to present the richness of Polish
court cuisine in the most contemporary way.
At home, a salted herring should be soaked for 24 hours in
water, which should be changed from time to time. The water can be
replaced by milk for the last 8 hours. When the herrings are soaked,
remove the skin and cut the meat along the backbone with a sharp
knifepoint. Carefully take the fillet off, first from one side, and then
from the other. Herrings can be covered in oil, or served in pieces with
cream and onion. Blended herring, onion and apples makes a delicious spread on wholemeal bread.
A typical Polish combination is herring with linseed oil, produced by traditional methods – pressed cold from selected varieties of
seeds of flax. It should be only used cold; it is not suitable for heating
or frying. Only the raw oil contains valuable tocoferols (antioxidants)
and up to 60% of Omega-3 acids. To preserve these precious nutrients,
the temperature for storing linseed oil should not exceed 10°C.
Herrings with ceps served
on potato salad
• 0.5 kg herring fillets
• 0.25 kg frozen ceps
• 0.5 kg potatoes
• 2 red onions
• 1 clove garlic
• capers, cherry tomatoes (for decoration)
• salt, pepper, oil, olive oil, parsley tops, thyme
Defrost the ceps and fry in olive oil with chopped onion. Add a clove of garlic, season
with salt, pepper and thyme. Cool down the fried ceps and mix with herrings cut into
pieces. Cook jacket potatoes. Cool down, mix with red onion, season with salt and
pepper, add olive oil and chopped parsley tops. Serve with a glass of frozen vodka.
Chef of Platter restaurant
in Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw.
Beetroot owes its beautiful red colour to anthocyanins,
which improve blood composition and effectively regulate function
of the liver and gall bladder. Beetroot should be praised for its ability
to strengthen our immune system.
Beetroot is a very popular vegetable in Poland. Most frequently it is served cooked, grated and stewed in butter, as a side-dish,
with groats and potatoes, chops and roasts. If you want to use beetroot
in a more contemporary way – prepare carpaccio. Drizzle olive oil over
the beetroot, wrap in aluminium foil and bake at 170°C. Cut into
thin slices, drizzle with olive or linseed oil, and add a drop of balsamic
vinegar. Slices of baked beetroot go well with goat’s cheese and rocket
with raspberry-honey dressing. Artur Grajber (Sheraton/Warszawa)
serves sauce made of red beetroot with cherry vodka to accompany
pikeperch baked with poppy seed oil.
Borscht, a soup made of pickled beetroot, deserves the title
of National Polish Soup. The oldest known recipe comes from the
16th century. Borscht can be both a festive and an everyday soup.
During the Christmas Eve dinner in Polish homes, Lenten borscht
with uszka is served. Uszka are small dumplings filled with onion,
fish, and hard-boiled eggs. Borscht may also be eaten with pasties or
Good quality borscht should be sweet-sour and intensely
red. To achieve a nice colour, before serving, pour the soup through
a sieve in which a raw, grated beetroot has been placed. In some regions
prunes, dried mushrooms, honey or cloves are added to borscht.
Horseradish borscht with cream
• 2 l pickled borscht
• 4 tbsp thick soured cream
• 2 red apples – preferably Delikates
• salt and pepper
• 1 onion
• 1 kg quark
• 1 carrot
• 3 flat tbsp grated horseradish
• 1 parsley root
• ½ l cream
• 4 tbsp fresh, grated horseradish
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• 0.5 kg smoked bacon on the bone
• pinch of salt
• 0.3 kg white pork sausage
• 3 tbsp linseed oil
• 2 bay leaves
• 4 tsp gelatine
• 3 cloves garlic
• 100 ml water
• 1 tbsp dried marjoram
Peel the carrot and parsley and cut lengthwise into quarters. Peel the onion, cut into
halves, and fry in a dry pan until golden. Pour cold water over the vegetables and add
smoked bacon cut into pieces. Cook for 1.5 hours on a low heat. Take the bacon out
and separate from the bone. Divide into smaller pieces and put back into the mixture.
Blanch the white sausage in boiling water with bay leaves. Cut into one-centimetre
thick slices. Boil the pickled borscht very slowly and strain. Add the beetroot to the
mixture and cook until tender. Pour borscht and mixture together, season with chopped
garlic and horseradish. Add cream, season with salt and pepper. Serve with chopped
Chef in La Rotisserie, La Regina Hotel in Warsaw.
Once upon a time in Poland...
Autumn delicacies included snipe and fieldfare, black grouse
and heather cock, stuffed partridge, hazel grouse, pheasant, and hare,
roe and red deer. Hunting was ritualised and integrated the aristocracy and noblemen. It was an occupation of kings, magnates, chivalry
and nobility. Processing the game was also of great importance. To
tenderise the meat, the roast was wrapped in a tablecloth soaked in
vinegar and buried in the ground for a couple of days. Then a fivekilogram leg of bison or deer was put into a huge wood-fired oven
overnight. At the wedding of Felicjan Potocki to a daughter of the
Lubomirski family, the dishes included 36 fallow deer, 45 roe deer, 24
red deer, 10 moufflon, 4 wild boar, 300 hare, 1000 braces of partridge
and hazel grouse, and 100 wild geese and ducks...
Today the tradition of eating wild boar or deer is being revived. Some restaurants serve sirloins of red deer in pear and ginger
sauce, or wild boar with quince and sloe sauce. Game is difficult. It
tastes better when hung. It can be frozen without any harm – the
process makes it tender. Marinating and roasting, though, require
skill. Game can be put into a seasoning of vegetables and rosemary,
stewed with prunes and onion, or marinated in red wine with juniper
berries. Game, especially birds, goes well with fruit.
Fresh sirloin of red deer, roe deer, fallow deer, or elk can
be used to prepare steak tartare – just chop the meat, season it with
pepper, oil, red pepper, form a cone with the mixture, make a hollow
and mix a raw hen or quail yolk. Juniper vodka and gin greatly complement tartare steak.
Goulash hunters' soup and hunters' bigos are traditional Polish dishes, long stewed with various ingredients and spices. Another
popular dish is zrazy – minced beef rolled with chopped vegetables
– carrot, parsley, celery – pork fat or bacon.
Haunch of roe deer
• 480 g haunch of roe deer (sirloin of red deer
can be prepared the same way)
• 1 apple
• fresh lovage (or fresh marjoram)
• 2 slices of smoked bacon or wild boar
• 120 ml Żubrówka (bison-grass vodka)
• 20 g honey
• juniper berries, marjoram, clove of garlic,
• honey mustard
Clean the haunch of membranes. Marinate in vodka, juniper, marjoram, caraway and
garlic. Leave for 3-4- hours. Remove from the marinade; dry, sprinkle with salt and
pepper, and fry in a minimal amount of oil. When the meat is evenly browned, add
butter, reduce the heat and baste the deer for 6-8 minutes with butter, pouring it over
the meat from above. Then take the meat out of the saucepan and leave in a warm place.
Bake slices of bacon at150°C for 12 minutes. Take out; dry on blotting paper and dice.
Peel the apple, dice and combine with bacon. Add fresh lovage and a tea spoonful of
mustard and mix. Divide the haunch into four even parts. Put the previously prepared
bacon and apple paste on each part of the meat. Bake the whole in a hot oven, but only
for 2 minutes.
Swiss living in Poland for 20 years, certified master
of the culinary art, teaches the art of cooking
in Kurt Scheller Academy in Warsaw.
In Poland known as kasha, or earlier as krupy – the crushed
grain of various cereals. Most varieties are produced by processing
the grain of cereals like barley, millet or wheat, whereas buckwheat
groats are regarded as the healthiest. All groats preserve the nutritional
content of the grain and seed from which they are produced.
The only foodstuffs comparable to Polish groats are couscous and rice. Groats, however, have a great variety of shapes and sizes
– from tiny, lemon yellow balls through flat, grey pearls to thick, golden, flattened clods with dark streaks. All of them, especially the least
processed, are unbelievably healthy. They contain plenty of soluble
fibre, which lowers cholesterol levels, as well as many vitamins, minerals and microelements.
In Poland barley groats are usually added to soups or served
as a side dish with meat. Friable ones, such as buckwheat or pearl
groats are the best for salads. Sweet puddings are made with semolina,
buckwheat groats or grits. Various groats mixed with other ingredients
can be used as stuffing for cabbage leaves (known as gołąbki), fish (e.g.
pike) or poultry.
Groats were a staple food in Poland until the 18th century.
Today they are also used in fusion cuisine. Health food stores offer
kaszi - barley grits with other ingredients rolled in seaweed, sushi style.
Agata Wojda (Opasly Tom PIWu/Warszawa) prepares mushroom
and goose consommé with smoked Polish plum and pear, served with
ravioli with buckwheat groats and goose. Pure Polish!
• 60 g butter
• 1 tbsp oil
• 20 g grated cheese (Polish Bursztyn or
• 1 small onion, chopped
• salt, pepper
• 30 g carrot
• parsley leaves for decoration
• 30 g celery
• 30 g leek
• 100 g buckwheat groats
• a couple of tbsp of dry white wine
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add chopped onion and vegetables. Fry on a low heat
for 1 minute. Add buckwheat and stir. Add wine and wait until it is absorbed. Pour in
boiling water, covering the ingredients by 1 centimetre. Cook for 3-4 minutes in a covered pot. Turn off the heat, leave under the lid for 15-18 minutes, until the buckwheat
absorbs the liquid and is cooked. Add 30 g of butter cut into cubes, and cheese. Stir.
Sprinkle with parsley leaves. Serve with a steak or breaded cutlets.
Chef at Joseph's Food & Wine and Dzień Dobry TVN.
Cod with roasted beetroot
Fish with white, dense, aromatic flesh. Cod is a predator. In
the Baltic Sea, it is fished mostly from the Bay of Gdańsk and Gotland
Deep. Once cheap, nowadays more and more expensive as its rarity
Old Polish cuisine was dominated by fresh-water fish, such
as carp, pike, and perch. Sea fish was much less accessible. However,
at the royal table, cod was served with gooseberries and raisins. Today,
Poland is home to 120 fish species (in rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and
the sea) of which about 40 are edible.
Cod is a popular fish, usually served fried or minced, as
fish balls. A regional dish at the seaside is cooked smoked cod, or
Kashubian cod, fried in pork fat and stewed in a consommé. Cod roe
is also eaten smoked or fried.
The fish might be roasted with potatoes and pumpkin; it can
be accompanied by tomatoes, beans or spinach. It is advisable to buy
fish on the very day you plan to cook it, since it has to be absolutely
Agata Wojda (Opasły Tom PIWu/Warszawa) serves cod
in marine ragout, with shrimps, mussels and orange. In February in
Warsaw where the menu changes according to seasons, she serves,
roasted cod with organic green Puy lentil, with a salsa of black and
green olives and parsley tops.
In late August in Gdynia there is the Cod Harvest – the
Polish Seafish Dish Championship. The cod are caught by rod by
a team member. The competitors leave for the high sea on fishing
boats. Upon their return, they marinate the fish and prepare dishes
for the contest.
• 2 cod fillets (120 g)
• 175 g beetroot, quartered
• 155 ml olive oil
• 2 sprigs thyme
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 100 g green peas, blanched
• 4 tbsp clarified butter
• 1 tsp horseradish
Place the beetroot, olive oil, thyme and cinnamon stick in a roasting pan and roast for
20 - 30 minutes at 200 C. Meanwhile, season the cod with salt and pepper and fry on
both sides for 2 minutes in clarified butter, skin side first, and roast in the oven for 5
minutes at 150 C. Puree the peas in a blender and strain through a sieve, place back in
the sauce pan, add horseradish and season with salt and pepper.
Plating: place beetroot on plate, top with cod, and place pea puree on top.
Chef in Bulwar Hotel restaurant in Toruń.
The best poultry for autumn. Waterfowl have a good deal of
fat under their skin. Therefore, they are best roasted in the oven or on
the barbecue so that the fat melts.
You can tell a good duck by wing thickness and the softness of
the lower part of the bill, which should easily break when bent. Fat should
be white and absolutely translucent (Polish cuisine in recipes by Lucyna
Ćwierczakiewiczowa - 19th century cookbook).
8-10 weeks old ducks, weighing 2 - 3 kg are the tastiest treats.
Their meat is dark and tender. Duck with apple or orange is a typical
Polish dish. Duck can also be roasted with other fruit: peaches, pineapples, quinces, apricots, pears. The meat should be basted to roast
the bird in its own fat once the water evaporates. The duck is ready
when juices run clear after pricking the meat with a toothpick.
Czernina is a unique and famous, traditional Polish, sweet
and sour blood soup. Young animals – geese, ducks or hare – are bled,
and their blood is mixed with vinegar, honey, ginger, cloves and cherry
In Polish restaurants, duck meat also appears in super modern dishes – sushi-masters prepare maki sushi with roasted duck and
cranberries (Tomo). Chefs may serve a salad duck breast marinated in
spices, with fruit of the forest and blackberry truffle dressing (Michał
Tkaczyk, Bristol Le Meridien). Karol Okrasa (Platter/Warszawa) interprets a classical dish in an avantgarde way by serving pierogi with
roast duck and buckwheat in an emulsion of butter and fermented
rye-flour soup, scented with marjoram.
Duck served on Polish potatoes
with caramelised apples
• 1 duck (1.8 kg)
• 100 g cranberries
• 100 g garlic
• 40 g honey
• 350 g potatoes
• 2 apples
• 50 g onion
• 1 orange
• 1 g marjoram
• 3 g cinnamon, sugar, salt, pepper
• 16 g bacon
• 60 g pork fat
Rub the duck with salt and pepper. Put half an orange and half an apple inside the
cavity, and add salt, pepper, and marjoram. Place in the fridge for 24 hours. Cook the
whole, peeled potatoes. Cool them down and put aside.
Cut the pork fat into small cubes with the bacon and onion. Melt the pork fat in a hot
pan, then add the onion and later bacon. When all the ingredients are fried, add the
sliced potatoes, salt and pepper. When the potatoes are fried, add chopped dill.
Roast the duck for 90 minutes at 145°C in a steam convection oven set to the steam
Cool down the roasted duck and remove the bones. Fold a breast with a drumstick
(right breast – left drumstick), pour honey over and bake under the grill until browned.
In the meantime, cut the apples into quarters and sprinkle them on a pre-prepared hot
sugar caramel. Stir for a while and add marjoram.
Put potatoes on a plate, and then cover them with the onion and bacon. Place the duck
and apples on top. Finally cover everything with a bit of caramel from the apple pan.
Chef in Tamka 43 restaurant in Warsaw.
Lambs are mostly bred in the Tatras, where flocks graze on
wide, green, mountain meadows. At one time, the end of work in the
fields was celebrated by baking a whole lamb in an oven. The meat
was marinated to tenderise and lose its characteristic aroma. After
marinating and before roasting, the meat was rubbed with salt, garlic
and spices. Roasting took several hours. Spicy fillets of lamb, flavoured
with coriander, honey and lemon peel and juice are a regional delicacy
in the Tatras.
Lamb meat is regarded as exclusive. In the 1970s and 80s,
Poland’s sheep population was 5 million! Last year it was only 258
thousand. The majority of the meat is exported to France, Italy and
Lamb chops cooked the Polish way are accompanied by garlic, horseradish, apple and lemon. In Warsaw, restaurants which follow
the Slow Food philosophy serve Polish lamb haunch with caramelised
shallots and barley. In the springtime in Warsaw, some restaurants on
the bank of the Vistula offer grilled lamb with young lettuce leaves,
chickpeas, peas, shoots, and cucumber, with celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, and a lemon and caper dressing with anchovies, garlic
and chilli. Lamb goes well with lentils, beans and chickpeas. This flavoursome meat needs bold garnishing.
Lamb Shoulder Sous Vide with
Mashed Apples and Baked Celeriac
If you have an opportunity to use vacuum packing, take a lamb shoulder on the bone
(about 1.5 kg) and place in a suitable container with three table spoonfuls of oil. Then
cook the packed meat at 64°C for 24 hours. Remove the bone and place a weight on
the meat to make it as flat as possible, and chill. Cut the prepared piece of meat into
four equal parts. Before serving, fry in a saucepan until it is delicately brown.
Home version – if you don't have the option to use vacuum packing or temperature
Sprinkle the raw lamb shoulder with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Fry evenly on both
sides until the meat is brown. Still frying, pour in a glass of wine and add water to cover
the meat. Cook on low heat for 2 hours until it is tender
Mashed apples (Szara Reneta variety):
Peel and hollow out the apples, cut them into halves or quarters and fry in a hot pan
until they are half-hard and brown. Cover with foil, cool down and blend.
Bake celeriac at 180 °C until it is tender. Cut into 3-centemetre pieces (4 pieces per
person). Blend the remaining celeriac and squeeze the juice. Mix the juice with browned
butter – this will serve as the sauce.
Finally, put the mashed apples on a plate, place the piece of lamb shoulder with celeriac
at the side. Pour the sauce over. Garnish with wild herbs (yarrow, stellaria, wild sorrel).
Chef of Opasły Tom PIW-u restaurant,
where she serves a tasting menu every night.
In Polish known as twaróg, this is fresh cheese made of curdled cow's milk. Traditionally produced from warmed, non-pasteurized milk "fresh from the cow", which sours naturally. Once congealed,
the mass was poured into a horn made of linen or put into a wooden
press, to remove the whey and to shape the cheese into a wedge-like
triangle with rounded edges.
Quark is quite crumbly. It can be cut, crumbled, or rubbed
with cream or yoghurt. Ricotta is similar to Polish quark, but it has
a silkier structure.
In Polish households, quark serves as a basis for cheesecake,
pierogi, pancakes, and other dishes. It can be served sweet with honey,
or savoury with cooked potato and chives. Although it is a peasants'
delicacy, it has been ennobled. Quark, together with tomatoes, basil
and linseed oil, makes a Polish Caprese.
Agata Wojda uses quark to make horseradish mousse. To
achieve fluffiness, the chef advises, “You need full-fat quark, minced
three times in a mincer with a fine strainer. The best addition is a piece
of freshly dug horseradish root, peeled with a peeler, slightly chilled
down and grated on the finest part of the grater. Remember that
horseradish darkens quickly, so you may want to add a bit of apple
vinegar and a pinch of sugar. If you do not have horseradish, replace
it with wasabi.”
Horseradish mousse can be served with thin slices of baked
beetroot delicately warmed in linseed (or grapeseed) oil, with a spoonful of honey and raspberry or blackcurrant. The Polish tradition of
growing bitter-cress is unknown in other countries, as is its flavour.
Bitter-cress, with its spicy flavour, is a great addition to quark and
• 1 kg quark
• 3 flat tbsp grated horseradish
• ½ l cream
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• pinch of salt
• 3 tbsp linseed oil
• 4 tsp gelatine
• 100 ml water
Mix the minced quark with cream in a deep bowl. Add the cream slowly, whisking
continuously until smooth. Add the horseradish, sweeten with honey and add salt
to taste. Add linseed oil. Dissolve 4 teaspoonfuls of gelatine in hot water. Wait till it
cools down. When it is tepid, add to the mass. Mix until smooth. Place immediately
in moulds previously greased with oil and lined with foil. Tap them delicately. Place in
the fridge for at least 6 hours.
Chef in Mistrz i Małgorzata restaurants in Białystok.
Probably brought to Poland from the Vienna Expedition
(1683) by the Polish King Jan III Sobieski. Potatoes have only been
grown as edible crops since the mid-18th century (initially they were
cultivated as ornamental plants or botanical curiosities). Today potato cultivation is fundamental to vegetable production in Polish
agriculture, right after cereal. Potatoes are the staple nourishment
for most Poles.
Potatoes are most commonly eaten boiled or mashed. Sliced
boiled potatoes fried in butter are delicious. Mashed potato mixed
with quark forms the filling for ruskie pierogi.
Potato sausage (kiszka ziemniaczana) is a regional dish from
Podlasie. Pork intestines are stuffed with mashed potato up to two
thirds of their volume, pricked with a fork (to prevent breaking) and
baked in an oven. Pork fat, suet, or fried bacon and spices are added to
the potatoes. Similar dishes are popular in Kurpie region, where they
are called rejbaka; in Austria (where the potato mass is boiled, not
baked); and in France (where animal stomachs are filled with potatoes). Every May, in Supraśl near Białystok, the World Championship
in Baking Potato Sausage and Potato Pound Cake are organised.
Arleta Żynel, chef, prepares potato sausage with chanterelles
(canthearellus cibarius) – small, orange or yellow mushrooms with
a fan-shaped cap, quite tough flesh, a peppery flavour and a unique
fruity smell, reminiscent of apricots. Chanterelles are collected in Polish forests in summer. They taste delicious stewed with onion and
cream. They can be added to scrambled eggs. A typical Polish foodstuff that goes perfectly with potato sausage is Toruńska sausage –
pork meat, medium minced, smoked, and steamed. It can be replaced
with any other sausage which is smoked and not too spicy.
Potato sausage with chanterelles
• 3 kg potatoes
• 1 tsp pepper
• 80 g Toruńska sausage
• pork intestines (thin) or protein casings
• 2 onions
• 400 g chanterelles
• 2-3 tbsp flour
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 glass oil
• 1 tsp salt
Grate the potatoes with a fine grater. Dice the sausage, fry in the oil and leave to cool
down. Fry the chanterelles with chopped onion for 5-8 minutes and cool down. Add
two eggs, flour, spices, sausage and chanterelles to grated potatoes. Stir thoroughly and
loosely fill intestines previously soaked in milk. Bind the endings of the filled intestines
with a toothpick. Place on a baking tray and prick in a few places. Bake for about an
hour at 170°C. Serve with a favourite side dish – in the Podlasie region pickles and
sauerkraut with apples are a popular choice.
Authors of the recipes
Wojciech Modest Amaro
Dzień Dobry TVN
Akademia Kurta Schellera/
Opasły Tom PIWu/Warszawa
Mistrz i Małgorzata/Białystok
Concept, text, recipe editing: Monika Kucia
Project and graphic design: Ela Skrzypek
Illustrations: Karolina Mazurkiewicz
Published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
in the framework of the Polish Presidency in the EU Council (2011)