BBC Good Food Magazine
FIVE ESSENTIAL POLISH INGREDIENTS
Wherever you look in Polish cuisine, there’s pork: sausages like kielbasa, pierogi, smalec (lard), pâtés. We also like hog roasts – they’re cooked overnight in sugar and spirits and set alight. It’s spectacular.
Many people make cottage cheese by hanging milk. It’s eaten hot or cold, at breakfast or lunch, with sour cream, salt, pepper, spring onions and bread or just a spoon. Polish baked cheesecake is made with minced cottage cheese. Krakow-style or Cracovian cheesecake is a perfect example.
A traditional pork or beef sausage. The meat is brined, smoked and steamed. You’ll find it in almost every household.
In autumn, everyone goes mushroom picking. They’re eaten pickled, fried or minced. Pickling veg – like the three-day-brined cucumbers called ogórki małosolny – is still popular in Poland. Harvest in summer, preserve for winter.
From sauerkraut or stuffed gołąbki leaves cooked in tomato sauce, to spring ‘short cabbage’ pan-fried with butter, bacon and onions, you cannot run Polish cuisine without cabbage. A tarka, or massive cabbage grater, is traditional on the kitchen table.