Polish Classic Recipes
Laura & Peter Zeranski
Pelican Publishing (2011)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (4/11)
It was such a pleasure for me to review this cookbook for two reasons; one was that I like ethnic food, and the other was that I’m familiar with some of the recipes from my childhood. Many in this book were prepared by my mother and it brought back memories for me.
For the purpose of the review we are asked to test three recipes. The first one I tested was “Pierogi” with “Potato and Cheese Filling.” The dough was easy to make and the filling was classic. My pierogi’s ended up being misshapen and odd looking but I think that’s because I attempted to use more filling than the dough would hold. However, this didn’t affect the taste at all, especially when I fried them in a skillet with crumbled bacon and fried onions. Although it wasn’t a suggestion, we ate them topped with sour cream, just like I remember eating them as a child. This was a lot of work, but well worth it.
The second recipe I tested was “Honey Cake from Warsaw.” It reminded me of my paternal grandmother; she always made honey cake or cookies. However, I didn’t like what she served and just recently found out it’s because she used bacon grease rather than butter. I decided to give this recipe a try to see if I can get to like a honey cake. The cake was spicy, sweet and rich. It was also very dense. I did like the taste better than my grandmother’s but I found it much too sweet. The recipe calls for one cup of sugar as well as one cup of honey. The filling between the layers is raspberry jam and the topping is a layer of melted semi-sweet chocolate cut with butter and cream.
The third recipe I tested was “Cabbage Rolls.” It’s been a long time since I ate these so I was excited to try this dish. The filling is simple using onions, cooked rice, ground beef and pork, salt and pepper. This was stuffed into softened cabbage leaves and placed into a baking dish. Covered with beef broth the rolls baked for 20 minutes. At that time I covered them with a mixture of plum tomatoes, salt, pepper and butter and continued to bake. The end result was good, the filling was tasty and the sauce was rich. I did miss the dill that I remember my mother using in the rolls. The tip for this recipe says the rolls taste best reheated and I agree. The second day they were much better.
There are so many more recipes I’ll be making from “Polish Classic Recipes.” I left my heritage many years ago so it’s nice to get back to eating some of the foods from my childhood. This book is a keeper and recommended to those that want to make Polish foods as a change. (In the next few days I’ll be making “Sausage and Cabbage.” I vividly remember eating this and loving it!)