Polish cuisine has many similarities with other Slavic countries, especially those with neighboring borders – Slovak and Czech. Other
Central European cuisines have also left their mark on the culinary tradition. These cuisines come from France, Turkey, Italy, the Jewish peoples, Hungary, Austria and Germany.
Small wonder, then, that due to Poland’s history, the cuisine has, over the centuries, become quite eclectic. Eclectic not only in types of ingredients, but also in terms of styles and methods of preparation.
Polish cuisine is rich and hearty, with the use of lots of eggs and cream. The cuisine is heavily laden with winter vegetables, herbs and spices. It also is heavy on meat: pork is abundant, as well as chicken and, depending on the region, beef. Traditional dishes often make use of various kinds of noodles. Perhaps the most worldwide renowned Polish noodles are kluski. You will also find frequent use of cereala and grains.
Traditional dishes can be demanding in their methods of preparation – especially the more festive meals. It is not uncommon for Polish cooks, planning for a Christmas or Easter family get-together feast, to start the preparations several days in advance!
What are the most popular dishes in Polish Cuisine?
Nationwide immensely popular Polish main dishes include bigos, pierogi, kiełbasa, kotlet schabowy, gołąbki, and various types of meat roasts -called “pieczeń”. Popular soup dishes include various meat broths, tomato soup, mushroom soup, sour cucumber soup (“zupa ogórkowa”), tripe soup and sour rye soup.
The main meal of the day in Poland is not, like many other countries, taken in the late afternoon or early evening. Polish people take their largest daily meal during early to mid-afternoon. It will typically be, especially among the traditionalists, composed of three courses. You start with a popular soup, followed by an appetizer. Then, when your appetite is fully piqued, out comes the main course.
The main course typically includes a generous serving of meat, perhaps a breaded pork cutlet, or chicken, or a beef or pork roast. Side dishes are also served with the main course. There could different breads, be rice, boiled potatoes, a wide variety of vegetables, or even a salad.
Most main meals of the day will finish with a dessert. A poppyseed pastry, called makowiec, and a sweet yeast cake called drożdżówka are two of the favored after-dinner treats.
Curiously, the Polish people are less favorable of American “fast foods” than most other European cultures. There had been an influx of chains like Pizza Hut, McDonalds, and KFC, which did quite well during the last quarter of the 20th century. However, their popularity has declined dramatically in recent years.
Poles love to cook, and they have no problem taking a long, slow time to cook a good meal. When the meal is prepared, they love to take their time enjoying the food together with family and friends. So it seems the brief love affair with American style fast foods has been broken up. Polish cuisine, the true traditional dishes, are back “in style” and much more favored and popular once again.
So now let’s get into the real reason you came to this page … the recipes!
Below is a list of dishes. Click on any of them, and you will be taken to a print-friendly page with just that one recipe on it. Off you go now, into the tasty world of …
Golubci (Cabbage rolls stuffed with meats and rice, baked in tomato sauce)
Makowiec (Poppyseed Cake Roll)
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