Traditional Polish cuisine includes Polish sausage (kielbasa), red beet soup (barszcz), duck blood soup (czernina), Polish dumplings (pierogi), cabbage rolls (golabki), Polish pork chops (kotlety schabowe), Polish stew (bigos), various potato dishes, as well as desserts like Polish doughnuts (paczki) and Polish gingerbread (pierniki).
Polish food is hearty food made up of meat, vegetables, and grains. It is a cuisine you can feel at home with, as evidenced by bigos, or hunter's stew—the ultimate comfort food. Another example is kluski z kapusta Polski, or noodles and cabbage, that will warm you in the winter. Or chlodnik, chilled cucumber beet soup that will cool you in the summer.
Pork is the main meat in the cuisine of Poland. Their pigs are raised with loving care. They are fed on grain, milk, and potatoes; chemical and synthetic additives are taboo. This approach to hog raising produces a flesh of the palest delicate pink that is extremely tender.
Pork has become the country's best known product. In fact, canned hams account for a major part of Poland's export sales. These boneless, fat free hams are prized all over the world.
Pork is also used extensively for sausage making. More than 90 kinds of sausage, or kielbas, are made in Poland. These sausages are served in a variety of ways, including served cold with horseradish sauce or mustard, or boiled in beer, or cooked in wonderful stews. A distinctive flavor of the sausages comes from smoking them over juniper wood that grows in the forests of Poland.
Also harvested from local forests are mushrooms—golden chanterelles, brown-capped boletus, and honeycombed morels. They are picked during the long season that extends into late autumn. Most Poles learn as a child how to distinguish between different varieties of mushrooms.
Wild game is also plentiful in Poland. Much of it ends up in Poland's national dish—bigos, the appropriately named hunter's stew. A typical stew might contain 5-6 different kinds of meat.
From the Polish garden come beets and that most favorite of all Polish foods—the cabbage. Both of these vegetables are used for salads, soups, stews, and more. Although an acquired taste for some non-Poles, Polish cuisine would not be complete without these two flavorful vegetables.
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This page modified January 2007
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