Poland (Europe) 31 December 2022

Poland is located in the continent of Europe. It has The Baltic Sea and a small part of Russia to the north, Lithuania to the northeast, Belarus to the east, Ukraine, Moldova and Romania to the southeast, Slovakia and Hungary to the south, Austria and the Czech Republic to the southwest, Germany to the west, and Denmark and Sweden to the northwest.

The capital is Warsaw.

The official language is Polish.

The climate is transitional, highly variable and has six seasons; a snowy winter for one to three months; an early spring for one to two months that alternates between wintry and springlike; a sunny spring; a warm summer; a sunny, warm autumn; and a foggy, humid period prior to winter.

The staple foods are cereal grains, wheat, rye, buckwheat, barley, noodles, potatoes, beets, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, pork, beef, ham, smoked and pickled fish and so many more amazing tastes (http://www.foodbycountry.com/Kazakhstan-to-South-Africa/Poland.html#:~:text=The%20cereal%20grains%2C%20grown%20on,dumplings%2C%20and%20other%20everyday%20foods).

https://www.britannica.com/place/Poland

SMOKED PAPRIKA GOULASH FOR THE SLOW COOKER (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/182157/smoked-paprika-goulash-for-the-slow-cooker/):  

            – 1 TBSP vegetable oil

            – 3 onions, sliced

            – 3 cloves garlic, chopped

            – ¼ C smoked Spanish paprika

            – 2 tsp kosher salt

            – 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

            – 3 lbs. lean beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

            – 3 TBSP vegetable oil, divided

            – 1-1/2 C water

            – One 6 oz. can tomato paste

            – One 10 oz. package egg noodles

            – ½ C sour cream (optional)

– 8 sprigs fresh parsley (optional)

  1. Heat 1 TBSP oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook and stir onion until they soften and begin to brown at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
  4. Transfer mixture to a slow cooker.
  5. Cover and set cooker to LOW.
  6. Mix together paprika, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  7. Toss the meat cubes in the paprika mixture until evenly coated.
  8. Heat one TBSP of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.
  9. Put a third of the beef cubes into the skillet and cook until nicely browned on all sides.
  10. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  11. Pour 2 TBSP of water into the skillet and scrape the browned bits from the pan: pour liquid into the slow cooker. This prevents the paprika from burning when you brown the next batches of beef.
  12. Add another TBSP of the oil to the skillet and cook the next batch the same way; repeat for the third batch.
  13. Stir the tomato paste and the rest of the water into the slow cooker; cover.
  14. Cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours (or on low for 6 to 9 hours).
  15. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
  16. Stir in the egg noodles, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the noodles have cooked through, but are still firm to the bite, about 5 minutes.
  17. Drain.
  18. Serve goulash over noodles with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of parsley.

Here is how the goulash turned out. It was good, but I think I would have added sweet potatoes, green beans and some onions. The meat was very tender and very good.

AUTHENTIC POLISH PICKLE SOUP (Zupa Orgorkowa) (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/221402/authentic-polish-pickle-soup-zupa-orgorkowa/?print):  

            – 2 chicken leg quarters, skin removed

            – 5 C water, or as needed to cover

            – ½ small head green cabbage, chopped

            – 2 carrots, peeled and sliced

            – 2 stalks celery, sliced

            – 1 onion, sliced

            – 2 bay leaves

            – 3 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

            – 1 clove garlic, minced

            – 1 pinch ground thyme

            – 1 pinch dried marjoram

            – salt and ground black pepper to taste

            – 4 small dill pickles, thinly sliced

            – 1 TBSP all-purpose flour

            – ¼ C sour cream

  1. Place chicken legs in a large pot and cover with water.
  2. Add cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, parsley, garlic, thyme, marjoram, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Cover pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. Cook for about 1 hour.
  5. Transfer 1 C chicken and vegetable broth to a saucepan.
  6. Heat broth and pickles over medium-low for about 15 minutes.
  7. Return pickle broth to large pot.
  8. Mix flour and sour cream in a bowl.
  9. Stir into soup; bring to a boil until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  10. Serve immediately.

I was not sure how this would taste, but it was very good. Very little pickle flavor, but still nonetheless!

NINA’S CUCUMBER SALAD (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/223246/ninas-cucumber-salad/?print):  

            – ½ C reduced-fat sour cream (such as Daisy)

            – 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

            – 2 TBSP chopped fresh dill

            – 3 cucumbers, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

            – ½ C thinly sliced red onion

            – coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Mix sour cream, lemon juice, and dill together in a bowl.
  2. Add cucumbers and onion; stir to combine.
  3. Season with salt and black pepper.

I used a dairy free sour cream, but it still tasted really good.

MARINATED BEET SALAD (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/15620/marinated-beet-salad/):  

            – One 16 oz. can whole beets

            – ¼ C white sugar

            – 1 tsp prepared mustard

            – ¼ C white wine vinegar

            – ¼ C diced red onion

  1. Drain beets, reserving ¼ C liquid, and slice into ¼ to ½-inch slivers.
  2. Add onions and toss.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, mustard and reserved ¼ C liquid until dissolved.
  4. Add vinegar and bring to boil; remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Pour over the beet slices and onions; toss and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
  6. Remove from refrigerator and serve at room temperature.

I love beets already, but this was a really good marinade with the beets!

POLISH EGG BREAD (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/54914/polish-egg-bread/):  

            – 5 packages active dry yeast

            – 2 C lukewarm water, divided

            – 1-quart whole milk

            – 1 C butter, cut into pieces

            – 1-1/2 C superfine sugar

            – 2 TBSP salt

            – 1 tsp salt

            – 10 eggs, room temperature

            – 5 lbs. bread flour

  1. Dissolve yeast in 1 C lukewarm water in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Bring milk to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Remove from heat; add remaining 1 C lukewarm water, butter, and 2 TBSP plus 1 tsp salt; stir until butter melts.
  4. Pour in sugar and stir until dissolved.
  5. When milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, stir in dissolved yeast.
  6. Beat eggs in a separate bowl until combined.
  7. Whisk milk mixture into eggs.
  8. Gradually mix in flour.
  9. Transfer dough to a floured work surface; use a serrated knife to divide dough in half. Shape each half into a ball and place dough into 2 large greased bowls.
  10. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1-1/2 hours.
  11. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  12. Lightly grease 3 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
  13. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and divide into 6 equal portions.
  14. Shape each portion into balls. (Dough will be very sticky and soft at this point.) Keep covered with greased plastic wrap.
  15. Working with one portion at a time, divide one dough ball into 3 pieces.
  16. Shape each piece into 3 ropes, braid together, and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
  17. Repeat with remaining dough balls. You should be able to fit 2 loaves per baking sheet.
  18. Bake loaves in the preheated oven until hollow-sounding when tapped on top, 35 to 40 minutes.
  19. Let cool before slicing.

** NOTE: For a shiny, glossy, deep-brown crust, brush the braided loaves with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp cold water) before baking.

This bread was best eaten with the pickle soup to me, and the recipe even when halved made six loaves. Good bread overall!!

JEWISH RYE BREAD (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/230396/real-ny-jewish-rye-bread/): 

            – 2 C unbleached bread flour (such as King Arthur)

            – 1 C dark rye flour

            – 3 TBSP dry potato flakes

            – 2 TBPS caraway seeds

            – 1-1/2 TBSP demerara sugar

            – 2-1/2 tsp instant yeast

            – 1-1/2 tsp sea salt

            – 1 C warm water

            – ¼ C canola oil

            – ¼ C sour pickle juice

  1. Place bread flour, rye flour, potato flakes, caraway seeds, demerara sugar, yeast, and sea salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Turn mixer to low and thoroughly mix dry ingredients.
  3. Beat warm water, canola oil, and pickle juice into dry ingredients.
  4. Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat until dough is rough and shaggy-looking.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for exactly 30 minutes.
  6. Remove plastic wrap and knead with the dough hook until smooth, firm, and only slightly sticky, 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, 1 to 2 more minutes.
  8. Form dough into a ball.
  9. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat.
  10. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set into a warm place, and let rise until nearly double, about 1 hour.
  11. Grease a 5×9-inch loaf pan.
  12. Turn dough onto a lightly oiled surface, shape into a log, and place into the prepared loaf pan.
  13. Cover with a cloth kitchen towel and let rise until top of dough has risen slightly over the top of the pan, 60 to 90 minutes.
  14. Place rack in the middle of the oven; preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  15. Bake loaf in preheated oven until golden brown and cooked through, about 35 minutes.
  16. The internal temperature of the bread should be 190 degrees F.
  17. If loaf browns too quickly, cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil with the shiny side out.
  18. Remove loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

This bread was amazing!! It was so flavorful and airy. It was best eaten with the goulash to me.

POLISH PAPAL CREAM CAKE (Kremówka Papieska) (https://www.thespruceeats.com/polish-papal-cream-cake-recipe-1136954):  

            – 2 sheets puff pastry dough (1.1 lb package), thawed

For the Pastry Cream:

            – 2 C milk

            – ¾ C sugar

            – 1 tsp vanilla

            – pinch kosher salt

            – 5 TBSP cornstarch

            – 6 large egg yolks, beaten

            – Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

  1. Prepare a bowl of ice water.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks to a boil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.
  3. Reduce heat slightly and continue to boil 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to get into corners of pan.
  4. Take pan off heat and plunge the bottom into the ice-water bath for 3 minutes to stop the cooking.
  5. Do not chill pastry cream. It will be poured hot over baked puff pastry.

Bake the Puff Pastry:

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Roll out each piece of puff pastry slightly to blend seam lines, keeping it ¼-inch thick (try to keep it a rectangle when rolling).
  3. Without cutting all the way through, lightly score one of the pastry sheets into 9 even sections. This is just a guide to be used when cutting and serving the cake later.
  4. Sandwich each puff pastry sheet between 2 pieces of parchment paper and 2 cooling racks. This will keep the pastry flat but still flaky as it bakes. If you don’t have 4 cooling racks, bake sheets one at a time.
  5. Bake 15 minutes, then remove top rack and top sheet of parchment paper.
  6. Replace top rack and continue to bake until golden and crispy throughout, 2 to 5 minutes.
  7. Cool completely.

Assemble the Kremówka:

  1. Using a 13 x 9-inch pan as a mold, place layer of cooked puff pastry without scored lines in the bottom of the pan.
  2. Pour the hot pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve over the puff pastry and then place the scored piece of baked puff pastry on top.
  3. Refrigerate until set.
  4. When ready to serve, using pre-scored marks as guides, cut into 9 pieces.

Dust each piece with confectioners’ sugar.

This was very tasty!! The top did not adhere as much as you would think to the filling, but the consistency was still really good.

I was happy to share this meal with a taster, especially since it was such a big meal! I hope they liked it as much as I did!! Happy New Year as I begin my third year of cooking. As a reference, I have cooked 120 different countries meals. I have 118 to go!!! Then my plan is to cook for all 50 U.S. States, followed by the Canadian Provinces!!

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