Polish Cuisine

Polish cuisine is mix of influences: Russian, German, Italian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Jewish traditions have left their mark. The blending of this diversity with traditional favorites results in a menu that is varied and delicious. All the food groups are represented, with a little something from each group in every dish. Polish food ranges from kielbasa, which is a type of sausage, to gołąbki, or cabbage rolls, hunter’s stew to stuffed eggs, and from dumpling soup to mushrooms in sour cream. It is a cuisine you can feel at home with.

Pork is the main meat in the cuisine of Poland. Bread is a traditional Polish food. After summer harvest in villages all over the country farmers have a special celebration day called Dożynki. On that day, people gather together to sing, dance, thank God, and taste the first bread made from the ‘seeds of the summer’.

Polish cuisine is characterized by dishes with a well-defined taste. They can be hot, sweet or sour. The palate ranges from the the finest cuisine to simple peasant dishes.

It is impossible to cook the Polish style without using some of the following ingredients: sauerkraut, vegetables, fruit and fresh or dried mushrooms. The main meal in the Polish culinary tradition is Obiad, which is eaten early in the afternoon. A normal Obiad would consist of soup, the main course and also dessert.

A Typical Polish meal

Soup usually starts off the meal. Typical soups include: Barszcz or red beet soup, served with stuffed dumplings; Żurek a fermented rye soup; or Chłodnik, a soup made of cold beets and vegetables in sour milk, which is available only in the summer. Some other soups are occasionally available and these include grzybowa (wild mushroom), ogórkowa (pickle) and kapuśniak (cabbage). Appetizers include smoked salmon (łosoś wędzony) or smoked eel (węgorz wędzony) as well as a variety of aspic dishes, herring (śledź) in various forms, salmon, caviar and authentic Polish cold cuts and sausages.

Hot appetizers are also popular and these include pan fried mushrooms, tripe, and snails which originate from Poland. The authentic Polish salad is the surówka, which consists of grated winter vegetables like cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, leeks and apples. A tasty but simple salad is mizeria, sliced raw cucumbers in sour cream or sour milk. Tomatoes in Poland are among the best in the world so any salad should taste exceptional!

The main meal in Poland nearly always consists of some type of meat. Pork is the national meat of Poland and many main course dishes will contain it. Pork can appear a boneless pork chop (kotlet schabowy) or pork loin (pieczeń), which is usually served with some type of sauce. This sauce could be sos myśliwski, usually a sweetish sauce with raisins and honey or sos grzybowy, a wild mushroom (boletus edulis) sauce. Traditional Polish poultry dishes include chicken Polish style and duck filled with apples. The chicken is filled with a stuffing of liver, rye bread, egg, butter, spices, and parsley springs, and it is roasted in the oven. The duck is rubbed with marjoram, filled with apple sections and also roasted in the oven, often basted with water and red wine.

Polish fish dishes are highly recommended. They feature a variety of types of fish: eel, pike, perch, sturgeon, sea fish, and many others. The fish can be cooked many different ways: boiled, fried, roasted, fried in breadcrumbs, and served with delicious stuffing, sauces, and accompaniments. Carp is especially popular and it comes in different varieties: in aspic, fried, or served in grey Polish sauce with raisins and almonds (Carp The as Jewish Way). Carp is the traditional Christmas dish.

Dessert can consist of either cake or ice cream. There are apple cakes (szarlotka), cheesecake (sernik) and poppy seed rolls (makowiec). There are also layer cakes, apple tarts, Easter cakes, cream cakes and doughnuts.

The traditional start to any meal is Smacznego! Enjoy!