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Sample some Pole stars
7:00am Saturday 30th June 2012 in NewsXtra
With Euro 2012 in full swing, as one of the host nations the spotlight's on Poland. Here's a selection of tasty dishes enjoyed by the country.
By Diana Pilkington.
For the football fans who headed to Poland this summer, sampling traditional cuisine is unlikely to be top of the to-do list.
But with Polish delis on Britain's high streets and special product ranges in our supermarkets, those inspired by the Euro 2012 joint host nation can easily rustle up this hearty fare at home.
Some of the country's most popular dishes - like herrings in sour cream and the simple but tasty pork and cabbage stew - are detailed in Rose Petal Jam: Recipes And Stories From A Summer In Poland.
In the cookbook, which also serves as a memoir, co-author Beata Zatorska brings to life the sweet flavours and aromas that filled the house of her grandmother Jozefa, a professional chef, as she grew up in rural Poland.
"Nettles and mint hung drying in the attic alongside bunches of chamomile flowers and poppy-seed husks," she writes.
"Yeasty doughnuts were laid out on every flat surface, stool and armchair, slowly puffing up under starched white tea towels.
"Though I was almost too small to hold a rolling pin, Jozefa let me roll out the pastry dough to make pierogi - the ravioli-like pasta that Poles are addicted to - and taught me cooking secrets told by her grandmother."
You can get in on the secret too with these dishes from Zatorska's book...
Beetroot-shoot soup (Botwinka) (Serves 6) Stalks and leaves of 6 beetroots 2l (4 pints) meat stock or bouillon (beef or chicken) 1 whole beetroot root 1 clove garlic 1 tsp salt 1 tsp dry marjoram 1 tsp lemon juice 6 eggs, hard-boiled 250ml (8fl oz) fresh single pouring cream Wash the beetroot leaves and stalks well then pat dry with a paper towel. Chop them into small pieces. The leaves will shrink when cooked, so you will need quite a few. Add the chopped beetroot stalks and leaves to the stock, and simmer until soft, for about 15 minutes.
Grind a clove of garlic with a teaspoon of salt on a wooden board, then add to the soup with a teaspoon of dry marjoram and a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Wash, peel and score the beetroot bulb with grooves. Add to the soup to bring out a wonderful colour. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Cut the hard-boiled eggs into halves or quarters, then season with salt and pepper.
Leaving the whole beetroot in the pot, ladle the soup into individual bowls and place a good splash of fresh cream in each. Serve hot and garnish with the hard-boiled eggs.
Pork and cabbage "hunter's stew" (Bigos) (Makes enough for 4-6) 2kg (4lb 7oz) pickled cabbage (sauerkraut) 6 dried porcini mushrooms 500g (1lb 2oz) pork neck fillet 1 small onion 2 smoked sausages (about 500g) 6 pork spare ribs (smoked) 400g (14oz) soft, pitted prunes Empty the sauerkraut into a saucepan and blanch with boiling water. Drain then rinse the sauerkraut in a colander under the cold tap.
Put the dried mushrooms in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for an hour, then bring to the boil and simmer with a pinch of salt for 15 minutes.
Chop the pork into 3cm (1in) cubes and fry in a little olive oil until golden brown.
Chop the onion and fry with the pork for a few minutes until soft. Cut the sausages into 1cm (1/2in) thick slices and fry for a minute or two on each side.
Combine the sausage, pork and onion with the cabbage, add salt and pepper to season, and also add the spare ribs and prunes.
Drain the mushrooms, slice finely and add to the pot. Stir it all together, cover and cook on a low heat for at least an hour until the cabbage is quite soft.
Serve outside in summer with a hunk of fresh bread and a glass of beer.
Jozefa's 'daisy eggs' (Jajka w skorupkach) (Serves 2-3) 3 fresh eggs (or as many as the family can eat) 1 tablespoon dill, parsley and chives, finely chopped Butter for frying Hard-boil the eggs for 5 minutes, then run them under cold water for a moment so they are not too hot to handle. Using a sharp knife, cut the eggs (still in their shells) in half lengthways.
Scoop out the yolks and whites, keeping the shells intact. Chop the egg roughly and mix with whatever herbs you have to hand - dill, parsley, chives. Add salt and pepper to season and carefully replace the mixture in the egg shells without breaking them.
Fry face-down in a little butter for a few minutes until lightly brown. Arrange like daisy petals on a plate and serve with fresh bread for breakfast, lunch or a snack when studying.
Pierogi with beef filling (Pierogi z miesem) (Makes 120 pierogi) To make the pastry for 120 pierogi: 1kg (2lb 3oz) plain (all-purpose) flour 125g (4½ oz) unsalted butter 500ml (17fl oz) warm water Soften the butter in the microwave or by leaving it out of the fridge for a while. Pile the flour onto a large wooden board, then slowly work in the butter with your fingers.
Mix in the warm water, little by little, to make an elastic, soft dough. Place it in a bowl and cover with a clean tea or dish towel so it doesn't dry out while you are preparing the filling.
Roll out a lump of pastry dough on the wooden board - not too thick or thin - 3mm (1/8 in) is good. Using an inverted tumbler, cut out circles about 8cm (3½ in) in diameter and lay them on a floured wooden board, again covering with a tea or dish towel until you are ready to fill them.
To make the filling: 2 onions, finely chopped 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 2kg (4lb 7oz) beef ribs 1/2 bunch curly leaf parsley, chopped 500ml (17fl oz) water 2 stale bread rolls 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp butter Preheat the oven to 160C (325F).
Fry half the onion, the parsley and carrots in a heavy-bottomed oven-proof saucepan.
Add the water and beef ribs, then put the lid on the pan and bake in the oven for one hour.
Allow the pan to cool a little before removing the bones and discarding them, taking care to keep all the meat. Soften the bread rolls in some water, squeeze them dry, then stir into the mixture so they soak up the thick gravy. Put the mix through a mincer.
Fry the remaining onion in a pan with the butter until it is translucent. Stir in the minced beef mixture and fry for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Take the prepared circles of pastry dough and put a teaspoon of the minced beef mixture on each.
Fold them in half and carefully close them, crimping the pastry together with your fingers so you end up with little semi-circles. Put the pierogi into a big pot of boiling water with half a teaspoon of salt. The moment they float to the top (which will not take more than a minute), take them out carefully with a slotted spoon to allow them to drain.
If desired, fry for a couple of minutes in a little butter. You can also add some chopped bacon.
White cabbage and carrot salad (Surowka z bialej kapusty z marchewka) (Makes a side salad for 4 or a main dish for 2) 1/2 Savoy cabbage 1 apple 1 carrot 1/2 onion 1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp caster sugar 1 tbsp caraway seeds (optional) Slice and chop the cabbage and onion very finely, almost as if it had been grated. Peel the apple and carrot, then grate both. Mix all the ingredients lightly together. Make a dressing by whisking or shaking together in a bottle the lemon juice, olive oil and sugar. Season with salt and pepper then add to the salad and dress by tossing. You can stir in a tablespoon of caraway seeds for added flavour.
:: Rose Petal Jam: Recipes And Stories From A Summer In Poland by Beata Zatorska and Simon Target is published by Tabula Books and costs £25 in hardback. Available now
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