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Delights of Polish Cuisine

Polish cuisine is closely connected with Polish hospitality.” A guest in your home equals God in your home ” is a popular and oft repeated proverb in Poland. Guests are cherished and given the best, often including offering a newly met stranger accommodations in their best room.

Today we are experiencing a return to valuing Polish cuisine in Poland and heightened European interest in Polish cuisine.  A colorful history has resulted in a mixture of peasant, middle class and gentry cooking and eating habits polished by individual tastes and foreign influences.   An overwhelming abundance, charm and a touch of extravagance can be found in both old and new Polish cuisine. Tables are beautifully decorated with snow white table cloths and flowers are present even for a simple dish or occasion. They add to the spirit of joie de vivre so common at Polish tables.

Tradition and history play an important role in the Polish family, culture, and culinary life. The recipes chosen for this presentation are based on dishes created and enjoyed by my family, friends, and myself. They are adjusted to the American market ,i.e., measurements have been transformed and some ingredients have been replaced, and cover various categories. At the same time I have simplified some of them in order to omit the time consuming steps, for instance, sauce reduction that takes place over three days.

I hope you will enjoy the recipes and search for more examples of  wonderful Polish gourmet cuisine.

Stefan  Szafarek


Mushroom and Spinach
Stuffed Quails
Veal or Lamb cutlets with endives
Chicken with mushrooms in cabbage
Pierogi with white cheese and potato
Polish Ham
Marinated  Pork Tenderloin
Deer- venison a la Szafarek
Bigos - hunter stew
Roasted Pheasant
Paczki (donuts)
Barszcz (Borscht)
Trout with Tarragon Horseradish Leaves
"Frost to Heat" veal/lamb chops

Mushroom and Spinach

1 lb of white mushrooms

2-3 bags of fresh baby spinach or 1 frozen block of spinach

1 onion

1 bunch of green onions or onion tops



3 tbsp of butter

Cut the baby spinach and blanch it (if using frozen block of spinach thaw and heat up). Cut mushroom into slices and saute in butter for approximately 15 minutes. Saute onions and mix with mushrooms - keep on heat for 15 minutes.

Put hot spinach on the plate and top with mushrooms. Sprinkle with finely chopped green onion.

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Stuffed Quails

2 quails
1lb of mixed baby portabella and white mushrooms
2 medium onions
2 tbsp hot clarified butter (ghee)
Rinse and dry the quails, sprinkle with salt and refrigerate.
Clean and cut mushrooms.
Cut onion into slices and saute in olive oil until glossy.
Add cut mushrooms to onions and mix.
Saute for several more minutes.
Stuff quails with ¾ of mushroom and onion mix, leaving the rest to the side.
Brush the birds with 2 tbsp's of hot ghee.
Put quails in baking pan and bake until tender (approximately 30-40 minutes).
Combine all remaining ingredients with quail and bake for 5 minutes uncovered.
Cover until quails are golden brown.

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Veal or Lamb cutlets with endives

4-8 lamb or veal cutlets rinse, dry sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp of butter or ghee and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cutlets in a pan 2 minutes each side.
Put aside in warm place.
In the meantime separate endive leaves, sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1-2 oz of shredded parmesan or pepetto.
Put 1 oz of shredded butter on the top, bake in pan for 15 minutes.
Mix the drippings from the pans with 1 tsp of lemon juice and 2 tbsp vermouth and boil it.
Put the cutlet and endive on the plate, pour the sauce, shred some cheese and place 2 sprigs of fresh marjoram.

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Chicken with mushrooms in cabbage

Clean and cut 1 lb of mushrooms and 2 onions, saute in 1 tbsp of oil.
Mix 2 tbsp of Grey Poupon mustard with salt and pepper and 1 bunch of finely chopped green parsley and add to mushrooms, onions.
Remove the tough veins of 10 leaves of white cabbage and blanche for 2-3 minutes, put in cold water and pat dry.
Rinse and dry 5 breast filets of chicken, sprinkle with pepper and salt cover with the above prepared mix and wrap tightly in two cabbage leaves.
Saute in 2 tbsp of butter or ghee.
Cut into small pieces; 2 carrots, a small bulb of celery root, 2 stalks of green celery and 1 parsnip.
Place all of the above ingredients into a large pot with the chicken.
Add a small glass of white wine, cover and cook on medium high for 10-15 minutes.
Add 3 tbsp of heavy cream add salt, pepper, and ground paprika and mix well.

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Pierogi with white cheese and potato

Prepare dough:
1 lb of all purpose flour
1 glass of hot water
1 tbsp of butter
1 egg yolk
Mix all ingredients into a smooth dough.

½ lb of farmers cheese - pressed to remove water
½ lb of boiled soft dry potatoes
1 onion cut finely, sauteed in 1 tsp butter, salt and pepper.
Mix all ingredients and create a smooth mass.

Roll the dough on a smooth surface. To avoid clinging sprinkle with flour, both the surface and roller (put for ½ hour into a freezer before rolling).
Using a large glass or special round cutter cut even circles.
Put 1 tsp of stuffing on each circle, fold in half and crimp the borders.
Place 1 tbsp of sea salt in boiling water in a large pot and put the pierogi in.
Boil 2-3 minutes until they surface.
Try one to see if they are ready.
Use a slotted spoon to remove pierogi.
Slice 6 oz of bacon, fry in pan.
Put pierogi on the plate, top with 10oz of sour cream and cover with bacon.
Garnish with thyme or marjoram.

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Polish Ham

Put 2-3 lb of ham-pork in marinade overnight in the refrigerator.
To make the marinade, boil a bottle of red wine with ½ teaspoon cut ginger, the juice of 1 large orange and 2 tbsps of grape seed oil.
Next day heat 2 tbsp of oil in a covered pan.
Put ham in and add marinade.
Bake for ½ hour at 350°F.
Baste with marinade several times during baking.
Melt 2 tbsp of butter in large frying pan fry dried pineapple slices and sprinkle with paprika. Press whole cloves into the surface, one per inch.

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Cut 2 lbs of veal or tenderloin into slices and pound them into thin slices.
Boil carrots - julienne green beans
Cut pickles into 4, cut red pepper lengthwise. Place meat slices on flat surface cover thinly with Grey Poupon mustard. Place carrots, pickle, red pepper and green beans, long slices portabella mushrooms on the surface, cover with slices of crushed bacon. Flip the meat and roll tightly. Mix 3 tbsp of flour with ½ tsp of thyme, 1 tsp of paprika, granulated garlic or salt sprinkle the meat. Tie tightly each piece with kitchen twine.Fry in 3 tbsp of hot oil on all sides until golden brown put aside. Cut onion and saute it adding 1 tsp of butter to oil left from frying. Make 1 cup of bullion and mix with onions and fluid. Place zrazy in cover, cook for 4-5 min on low heat. Serve with kasha - in large pan add water and butter so long as it is done.

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Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Cover 1 lb of middle part of tenderloin washed and dried with mixed: 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of salt and 2 tbsp of pepper.
Put into a reclosable plastic bag, do not squeeze air out.
Place into the refrigerator for 4 days.
Twice a day turn the bag upside down.
Take out scrape the remaining mix.
Cut into thin slices.

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Deer- venison a la Szafarek

Cover 3 lbs of deer rump with buttermilk; leave in the refrigerator overnight.
Wash, dry the meat. Then marinate in a mix of red wine(Bordeaux or burgundy, one or two bottles} and the following: one celery root cut in quarters, 2-3 bay leaves,1 tspn of dry thyme, one whole garlic head crushed, one Vidalia onion cut into pieces, 5 medium carrots sliced lengthwise, 10 green and black peppercorns, 10 juniper berries (crushed and slightly toasted in dry frying pan), 1 bunch of green parsley, and a tbsn of Provencal herb mix. Keep it covered in the refrigerator for a week, turning once a day. Take out, pat dry and put aside. Cut ¼ lb of bacon into small squares and heat in a large frying pan until they turn golden.
Add some olive oil and 5 tbsp of butter or ghee. When hot start frying meat on all sides.
Boil the remaining marinade, remove all vegetables - reduce to ½ its volume. Pour over the meat, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 250 degrees. Check for tenderness and doneness. When done remove and keep warm.
Reduce leftover marinade by ½ and add one shot of cognac and 1 shot of port wine. Heat; pour through sieve or cheese cloth, use as sauce. 

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Bigos - hunter stew

1 lb of sauerkraut
½ lb of shredded white cabbage
1 lb of portabella mushrooms
4 oz dry porcini boiled in water until soft
2 lb of meats: cut into square cubes kielbasa, bacon, sirloin beef, pork, duck, rabbit (all browned in frying pan first)
2 Vidalia or sweet onions
2 tbsp of butter
2 oz of lard or pork belly heated
½ bottle of red wine
vegetable bullion

Carefully heat up so there is not scorching on the bottom. Put in the freezer, defrost on low heat bring to gentle boil, freeze again, defrost.

Add 5 or 6 cut dry, pitted prunes.

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Roasted Pheasant

Put the bird into the freezer for a day.
Take it out and press into the skin a ground mix of salt and juniper.
Wrap bacon strips tightly around the bird.
Bake covered for up to two hours, check for tenderness.
When done brush the bird with butter infused with ginger and green and pink pepper.
Do not defrost, bake in 500 F tightly covered, when done uncover and bake for 5-7 minutes.

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Cut 1 lb veal and tenderloin/sirloin into cubes.
Add to meat:
1 tspn of mild red paprika ,
½ tspn of powdered red hot pepper,
¼ tspn of sea salt and
6 cloves of crushed garlic.
Cut into cubes:
2 large Vidalia onions and
½ lb of mushroom.
Fine chop one small chili or jalapeno pepper (no seeds).
Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot.
Add to the pot:
cubed veal and sirloin
mushrooms, and
Mix 4 fl oz of white wine, 4 fluid oz of bouillon, add to the pot.
Simmer for 15-20 min, then add 6 fl oz of tomato paste, 1 bay leaf, 4 red or pink crushed peppercorns and a dash of sweet paprika.
Heat on medium until done - approximately 45 minutes.

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Paczki (Donuts)

1/3 cup of whole milk
2 oz of yeast
1½ - 2 tsp of sugar
4 oz of flour
8 egg yolks 1 lb flour
½ pint lukewarm (not boiled) cream,
½ bean of vanilla, very well ground (never use vanilla imitation)
6 oz melted butter
¼ tsp of salt
shot glass of alcohol (grain or strong very well distilled vodka)
1 tspn very finely grated lemon rind and orange rind.

1. Dissolve yeast in milk, with 4 oz flour and 2 tsp of sugar
2. When the yeast rises combine with 1 lb flour
3. 8 egg yolks combined with 3 oz sugar should be creamed (with heavy spoon or wooden ball) with lukewarm cream, vanilla, melted lukewarm butter, salt, alcohol, and grated rinds
4. Knead the dough until it does not stick to bowl or your hands
5. Wait until it rises again.
6. Divide into even portions cutting the ball into 1/8 - 1/10 and shape into balls - golf ball size or smaller. Dust with flour and cover with a cloth
7. Wait until they rise to twice their size , make small hole and insert prune butter, then close the hole
8. Brush off the flour
9. Heat enough lard in big saucepan, allowing the paczki to float w/out sticking to each other. Add 3 slices of raw potato to the hot lard. When you see the paczki brown ,turn them over. Take out and drain off fat. Dust with castor sugar or fine sugar or icing sprinkle with orange peel

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To make dough take:
1 cup of flour,
1 stick of butter,
¼ cup of sugar,
2 eggs,
1 tsp baking powder,
1 tsp of liquid vanilla (not imitation),
2 tbsp of milk.

Mix into smooth mass.
Spread evenly in baking pan.
Mix well 3x 8 oz Phil cream cheese, 5 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla.
Place on dough in baking pan.
Bake for 40-45 min at 350 F until it becomes golden-yellow.
After baking top with a mix of 16oz sour cream, ½ tspn of vanilla, 6tbs of sugar.
Bake for 10 more minutes.

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Barszcz (Borscht)

In ½ gallon of water boil 1 lb cleaned red beets.
When soft remove the skin and cut or shred then boil again.
Add 2 vegetable bouillon squares,1 leek (white portion only), small celery root, clove of crushed garlic, 1 bay leaf, pepper, salt, sugar to taste.
Add 16 oz of beet starter or beet concentrate available in Polish stores, can be replaced with lemon juice to taste.
Add sour cream when serving.

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Trout with Tarragon Horseradish Leaves

Clean trout, wash, dry and sprinkle with lemon juice.
Place horseradish leaves inside the trout with slices of one small Vidalia onion a long slice of butter [to extend the length of the trout] and 2 sprigs of green parsley.
Sprinkle with pinot grigio or chardonnay.
Place in refrigerator for 45 min to 2 hours.
Remove trout and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Place in a frying pan and fry in hot olive or grapeseed oil for 2-3 minutes each side.
Remove and place each in aluminum foil, add some tarragon and a slice of butter inside, crimp closed. 
If serving a large party place trout into a hot oven to enable serving them all at the same time.
Immediately before serving sprinkle with lemon juice.

“Frost to Heat” veal/lamb chops

Place frozen chops under the oven broiler on high.
Turn over when you see scorching appear it will be done, juicy.
To check doneness, cut one in the middle.
Sprinkle with crushed rosemary.
Serve with hot pepper jelly.

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Forward International Tours, Inc.
Stefan Szafarek
P.O. Box 201
Columbia, CT 06237
1.866.228.9664 • 860.228.9664

© 2005 Forward International Tours, Inc

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