Home What to do? The Best of Poland Top 10 Things to Eat in Poland by Aileen Miller

Top 10 Things to Eat in Poland by Aileen Miller PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 26 May 2012 16:11

Poland is a country rich with culture. The streets are, in equal measurements, filled with history and yet allowing modernity into the mix. However, as with any country, there is more to it than scenery and history, there is food. For a country as enthusiastic about food as Poland it’s difficult to select a top ten, However, these recipes are among some of the most popular in the country. Let’s take a look at the top ten things to eat in Poland.


1. Kanapka

kanapkaWhat better way to start the list than with a traditional Polish breakfast? The Kanapka is an open-faced sandwich which can be put together from any ingredients you want or can find, although they can be bought ready-made from the store. Many people prefer the home-made approach however, and a popular suggestion for families holiday is laying the table with various fillings to allow each individual their perfect Kanapka; this also has the benefit of making the meal more interactive and encourages table-talk.

Another variation is the Zapiekanka, a halved baguette, topped with cheese and oven-baked. This is favoured by students as not only can it be made out anything left in the house, it can be made quickly and can also be frozen and stored for an empty-cupboard emergency.

2. Pierogi

pierogiFew foods today have their own Patron Saint, but Pierogi has become so engrained in Polish culture that it even became a common-day phrase, “Swiety Jacek z pierogami!” (St Hyacinth and His Pierogi!) being a somewhat old-fashioned expression of surprise, and even has its own festival.

It originated sometime in the 13th century, and was largely considered to be peasant food, the traditional filling being mashed potatoes, until their increasing popularity could no longer be ignored by the nobility. So popular was Pierogi that, at one time, most major holidays were celebrated with its own Pierogi recipe.

Although the fillings of the Pieróg themselves are wildly varied, coming a long way from plain potato to white cheese, chicken or even blueberries, the outside is always unleavened dough, first boiled and then either baked or fried in butter.

3. Kotlet Schabowy

schabowyDespite being a much younger recipe than Pierogi, originating in the 19th century, this particular dish could be considered the equivalent of the American feeling towards steak in terms of popularity across the country. In a recent poll by the famous Wprost magazine an average of 94% of people asked listed Kotlet Schabowy as a favourite meal.

The dish is made from pork tenderloin or pork chop cut into slices and tenderised until thin and soft. The pork slices are then dipped in flour, eggs and then breadcrumbs before being fried in oil until cooked. It is then served hot, usually with cabbage or sauerkraut, or sometimes even with Pierogi for a particularly hearty meal.

An early appearance can be found in “365 Dinners for five złotys” a cookery book written by famous journalist Lucyna Ćwierczakiewiczowa in 1860.

[ Check out our recipe ]

4. Salatka Jarzynowa

warzywnaMore of a side dish to be served with cold cuts of meat before a Sunday meal or served as a festive dish during a holiday like Christmas or Easter, this mayonnaise based salad recipe is a staple of many Polish family cook books. More often home-made than store-bought, Salatka Jarzynowa is most commonly made from diced potatoes, eggs, carrots and, of course, mayonnaise, however historically the ingredients could include truffles and even lobster.

The dish is prepared by dicing the chosen vegetables and mixing together with a generous helping of mayonnaise before covering and leaving to chill in the fridge. Although this sounds simple, the vegetables have to first be prepared and boiled until soft, and the eggs hard-boiled, and so this can be a time-consuming recipe, but definitely well worth the wait.

5. Jajecznica

jajecznicaAnother dish that is considered to be student food is this simple dish of scrambled eggs with mixed vegetables and sausage or ham, with spices added at the chef’s discretion. Where, in other countries, this kind of meal would be considered breakfast food, it is generally eaten as a late supper or light snack.

The main beauty of Jajecznica is the variety of ways that it can be served; whatever you have left in the cupboards you can make a nutritious and delicious meal. Any combination of vegetables, meats or spices can be used for any kind of taste depending on the person making it.

Whether on toast, baked in hollowed out bread or mixed up with noodles or fried potatoes, you can always be guaranteed a home-made delicacy.

6. Zupa Pomidorowa

pomidorowaAlthough this particular dish of tomato soup actually originated in Italy, Pomidorowka has been enthusiastically adopted by Poland and become a favourite everyday soup. The recipe itself has evolved over the years, although one consistent ingredient is, of course, fresh tomatoes. The recipe also includes a meat stock, often beef, to add flavour and a mix of flour and sour cream to make the soup thicker and more substantial.

Unlike other countries where soup is served alone or with bread, Pomidorowka is commonly served with pasta, rice or potatoes. The country is divided over which makes the best accompaniment, however those who prefer noodles appear to outnumber the others.

This modest soup is one of the most popular comfort foods in Poland, so if your holiday finds a rainy day, this is a definite tip for keeping warm.

7. Rosól z Makaronem

rosolAnother popular comfort food and cold remedy, as well as traditional wedding fare, comes in form of chicken noodle soup. Made with a broth base and shredded chicken, Rosól is a healthy and hearty dish full of flavour without the heaviness of other soups.

The recipe itself is a tad time-consuming, taking around six hours to gently boil, but is definitely worth the effort. The meat used was traditionally salted meat cooked in water to make it more palatable although in recent years, as fresh food is readily available, the meat used is fresh and from the bone to glean the nutrients from them. As with most recipes featured, the main ingredients are consistent, but changes can be made in the variations of vegetables to be added dependent on the chef.

8. Kotlet Mielony

mieloneThis Polish burger recipe is easy to make, healthier than the burgers in fast food stores and of course delicious. They are generally made from ground pork, although beef can also be added, but turkey is becoming increasingly popular due to its low cholesterol levels.

Another crucial difference between this dish and fast-food is where the burgers found in fast-food chains are served in buns; Klopsy tends to be served with sauerkraut and potatoes, sometimes with buraczki (braised beetroot) or brined cucumbers.

Kotlet Mielony, or Klopsy, is mainly served as an evening meal and is a particular favourite of young people, perhaps due to the consistency of the ground meat or because they are just tasty. Though another benefit is that this dish can be prepared and then frozen for later, providing a quick and easy dinner for a busy teenager.

9. Pączki

paczkiWhat list of things to eat would be complete without a dessert, and what dessert is more popular that Paczki? These deep fried dough-balls are similar in many ways to the filled doughnuts so popular in America, but the dough itself is richer in taste and the traditional fillings used are stewed plum and wild rosehip jam, although there are several others available today. The Paczek are usually dusted with granulated sugar or orange zest.

This dish has been known in Poland since Medieval times and has become a traditional dessert served on Paczki Day (Fat Thursday), celebrated by Catholics just before Easter to use up any lard; eggs or sugar left before the beginning of Lent, during which foods such as Paczki is forbidden. So popular is the Paczek that on Fat Thursday it is common to find stores sold out of the sweet treat.

[ Check out our recipe ]

10. Ptasie Mleczko

ptasiemleczkoWhere this list has largely focused on traditional, home-made recipes, one chocolate bar must be mentioned. Ptasie Mleczko was developed by the E. Wedel Company in 1936 and named after the Polish Bird Milk meaning an unobtainable delicacy. Since its beginnings, it has risen to become the most recognizable and popular chocolate confectionary in Poland. The company owns exclusive rights to the brand name and although other companies sell similar chocolate, and indeed the company itself is now owned by Cadbury’s, they cannot use the name Ptasie Mleczko outside of Poland.

The bar itself consists of a soft meringue filling covered in chocolate, and the original recipe has stayed much the same, although there are now several different flavours available.

One of the most memorable advertising campaigns for Ptasie Mleczko bore the slogan “Your piece of heaven, whenever you want to have it.” 

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:55
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