Poland is famous for many things, but it’s dishes are not so popular as other counties in Europe. Here are some of the best and tastiest dishes from Poland. Polish cuisine represents typical Slavic tastes and is very rich in unique flavors. Check out what to try to have a wide overview on the most important polish national dishes!
1. Pierogi – filled dumplings
They are made by wrapping pockets of dough around a salty or sweet filling and cooking them in boiling water or baking them in the oven in less traditional version. Pierogi are considered national dish in Poland.
Pierogi are often semi-circular but rectangular ones can be also found. The dumplings may be served with toppings, such as melted butter, sour cream or fried onion. The traditional way for salty ones is with onion, and sweet method with sour cream and sugar.
Pierogi may be stuffed with mashed potatoes, fried onions, white cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, spinach, cheese, duck, lentil or any other ingredients that are possible to cook. Dessert versions can be stuffed with sweetened cheese or fresh fruit filling, such as cherry, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, peach, plum, or apple.
The dough, which is made by mixing flour, salt and warm water, sometimes with an egg or oil, is rolled flat and then cut into squares with a knife or circles using a cup or drinking glass.
Pierogi are famous around the world – there are many festivals of polish Pierogi on all the continents and they event have a monument!
In 1991, a giant pierogi on a fork monument was erected in the village of Glendon in Alberta, Canada.
2. Flaki – tripe soup
It can seem a specific taste, but is one of the soups that are an important part in the Polish diet.
Its name comes from its main ingredient: cleaned strips of beef tripe (in Polish: flaki – which can also be literally translated to “guts”).
Flaki has been consumed on Polish territory since the 14th century. Common ingredients, which may vary depending on the region, include beef tripe, beef, parsley, carrot, beef soup, spices to taste such as salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, and marjoram. The soup is traditionally served with slices of bread.
Ready to use beef tripe in boxes or jars are widely available in grocery stores throughout whole Poland.
Popular addition to improve the ‘luxury’ of this dish are meatballs, which are a regional variant known as ‘flaki po warszawsku’ (Warsaw-style tripe soup).
Polish people believe tripe soup to be a hangover remedy.
3. Bigos – cabbage stew
It is a Polish dish of chopped meat of various kinds stewed with sauerkraut and fresh cabbage.
Themain ingredients of bigos are few kinds of meat chopped into small cubes and a mixture of pickled cabbage and fresh white cabbage. The meat part may include pork (ham, shoulder, bacon, ribs, loin, etc.), beef, veal, poultry (chicken, duck, goose, turkey) and various kinds of Polish smoked sausage. The variety of meats is considered essential for good bigos.
The mixture is pre-cooked in a small amount of water and left to stew for several hours.
Bigos is seasoned with salt, black pepper seeds, juniper berries and bay leaves.
Bigos is strongly associated in Poland with celebration of two major Catholic holidays – Christmas and Easter, as it can be prepared in big quantities earlier and only heated on the holiday itself and the following days.
Bigos is traditionally served inside small rounded bread and beer for a better digestion.
4. Żurek – rye flour soup
In many Polish homes zurek soup is a traditional food eaten during Easter holidays. It is considered a strong part of Polish culture and has been eaten in Poland since at least the Middle Ages.
Żurek is a sour soup made from fermented rye flour with sausage, potatoes, egg, and other spices.
Its base is not meat or vegetable broth, but zakwas. Zakwas is made from rye bread and water and is related to sourdough. In Poland, zakwas is available to buy in bottles in all supermarkets.
Żurek can be thin and delicate or stuffed with chunks of ham, sausage, boiled egg and potatoes—in which case it is really an entire meal. It has a specific sour taste.
In Poland żurek is traditionally eaten at Easter, served in a bowl made from bread.
5. Gołąbki – cabbage rolls
Gołąbki are cabbage rolls common in Polish cuisine made from soft-boiled cabbage leaves wrapped around minced meat, chopped onions, and rice, which are baked in and served with a creamy tomato sauce.
Gołąbki is the plural of gołąbek, the diminutive of gołąb, meaning “pigeon”, referring to the small roll’s shape.
Gołąbki are often served during the Christmas season and on festive occasions such as weddings.
6. Golonka – pork hock
It’s a dish of pickled ham hock, boiled or baked.
It is sold already cured and sometimes smoked, and then used in simple dishes. Commonly served with boiled or mashed potatoes or sauerkraut, and with mustard.
It is especially delicious served in beer and honey sauce.
7. Barszcz czerwony z uszkami – Borscht
It’s a soup, one of national polish dishes. Includes beetroots as one of the main ingredients, which gives the dish a strong, red color.
Depending on the variation, borscht may include meat or be vegetarian. It may be served both hot or cold. It is often served with hard-boiled eggs and/or potatoes, beans and side dishes, such as small dumplings or small stuffed breads.
It may be served in a soup bowl or – especially at parties– as a hot beverage in a cup, with a croquette as the side dish.
Christmas Eve borscht, is a variation of the clear borscht that is traditionally served during the Polish Christmas Eve supper. The mushrooms used for cooking the mushroom broth (borscht base) are reserved for small filled dumplings, which are then served with the borscht.
The dominant tastes in borscht are sweet and sour.
In the summertime, cold borscht is a common refreshing alternative of beetroot soup. It consists of beet sour combined with sour cream, buttermilk, soured milk or yogurt, and is served refrigerated. It is typically served with beetroot pieces, cucumbers, radishes and green onion, together with hard-boiled eggs and fresh dill.
8. Kotlet schabowy z kapustą – Breaded pork with cabbage
It’s a cutlet covered with breadcrumbs, made of pork tenderloin or with pork chop.
The history of this Polish pork dish goes back to the 19th century. The collection of different recipes for cutlets was published in 1860 by Lucyna Ćwierczakiewiczowa in her famous cookbook named 365 Dinners for Five Zloty.
Typical ingredients include: eggs, oil, spices, pork tenderloin, breadcrumbs and flour.
Pork is cut into slices and pounded until it becomes very thin and soft. Eggs and spices are combined on a separate plate and then the meat is covered in flour, then in egg, finally gets covered in breadcrumbs and fried. Traditionally served with cooked potatoes, mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables cabbage.