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2013-01-31

Christmas & carnival Silesian delicacies

Bandera County Recipe Box

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

As a belated Christmas gift, Bandera County Courier publisher and owner Gail Joiner recently received a present from her Polish friends Magdelena Dimitrowa and Peter "Ponytail" Smykala - a cookbook titled "Christmas and Carnival Silesian Delicacies."
This special limited edition cookbook was translated by Dimitrowa and Katarzyna Kozolup and published especially for their "Friends from Texas" in Strzelce Opolskie-Rozmierka in 2012.
The small glossy-paged volume gives recipes for traditional soups, main courses, side dishes, desserts and drinks, as well as special treats usually served only during holidays.
Of course, Poland is on the metric system and since I'm terrible at math - just ask Shelly at Bandera Bank - you'll have to do your conversions. I will say, however, the unit of measurement known as a "dag," translates to .35 ounce, .02 pound or 1.76 teaspoon, depending on what's being measured. Once again, you'll have to do the math if you're so inclined.
Some of the ingredients are not so readily available in the United States, but it's interesting to learn about traditional food from our sister city-county. If any readers try these recipes, let us know how it went.
That said, "Bon appétit!"
Along with Fish Soup or Borsch with Ear Dumplings, this soup is usually the first dish to arrive on the Christmas Eve table.
Mushroom Soup
(Zupa Grzybowa)
Ingredients
2 dag of dried mushroom or 6-8 fresh mushrooms, washed and fried
10 dag of vegetables like carrots, parsley (root), celery, etc.
1 T. flour
1 T. butter
Salt & pepper to taste
Pinch of tarragon
Soak dried mushrooms for a few hours, then cook them in the same water. Cook vegetables in another pot. Drain mushroom and pour mushroom stock over vegetables. Make roux of flour and melted butter and mix it with soup and sliced mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper and tarragon. If desired, add a little sour cream.
If you're not up to "scraping the carp," I suggest you hie yourself to the nearest grocery store and purchase a whole fish that's already been cleaned and gutted and proceed from there.
Carp Roasted in Sour Cream (Karp pieczony
with smietanie)
Ingredients
1 carp (about 1.2 kg; whole fish)
3 onions
0.5 liters of 18 percent sour cream
1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Butter
Scrape the carp and sprinkle the inside with lemon juice than stuff with onions and butter pieces. Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper. Put the carp on a flat baking tray and bake for an hour in low oven, depending upon size of fish. Pour a little sour cream over fish and continue baking until skin is crispy. Pour the rest of the sour cream onto the baking tray and make sauce.
Dumplings of all kinds are served in Poland from Christmas until the end of Carnival.
Traditional Dumplings filled with Potatoes and Cheese (Pierogi ruskie)
Ingredients
Dough
40 dag of flour
About a cup of hot water
Filling
50 dag of potatoes, cooked
25 dag of cottage cheese
1 onion, chopped and fried
1 T. butter
Salt and pepper
Soup seasoning
Mince together cottage cheese and potatoes with onions. Season with salt, pepper and a little soup seasoning. Make dough from flour and hot water and roll out. Cut into circles using a glass and stuff circles with filling. Pinch ends closed and place dumplings into boiling water. Cook them until they float. Serve with butter, sour cream or bacon.
A few weeks before Christmas homemakers customarily prepared the dough for a big ginger cake, which was baked just before Christmas.
Christmas Ginger Cake (Piernik swiateczny)
Ingredients
500 g. flour
100 g. butter
250 g. castor (powdered) sugar
250 g. honey
5 eggs, separated
100 g. raisins
50 g. almonds
25 g. solid dark chocolate, crushed
Baking soda
Spices for ginger cake
Mix butter, egg yolks and castor sugar thoroughly then add honey. Mix baking soda with half of the flour and spices and add to the mixture and mix again. Whisk egg whites, add the rest of the flour, along with the raisins, almonds and crushed chocolate and combine both mixtures carefully. Grease baking pan and sprinkle bottom with breadcrumbs. Pour mixture into pans and bake for about 60 minutes in oven set to 180º C.
I don't know about you, but I don't think this libation would be hurt by the addition of a little dark rum.
Christmas Eve
Stewed Fruit
Ingredients
Mixed dried fruit
Water
Sugar or honey
Spices (cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg)
Pour some boiled water over the dried fruit until its 2-3 cm. above the fruit. Let sit for at least two hours and then boil for about 20 minutes. If the fruit absorbs too much water, add more. Add sugar or honey. If you are using very sweet fruit, like figs and raisins, it probably won't be necessary to add sweetener. Season with spices.

Pictured: This beautiful Christmas tree is typical of those found in Bandera's sister city-county in Poland.