Selected Wigilia Favorites
CLEAR MUSHROOM SOUP (czysta zupa grzybowa): In 2 T butter sauté 8 oz fresh Portobello mushrooms, washed well, dried and diced, with 2 med chopped onions until lightly browned. Dissolve 2 mushroom bouillon cubes in 6 c boiling water after it has cooled somewhat and whisk in 1 level T flour. Add the mushrooms and onions and simmer cover 10 min. Season with salt & pepper to taste and 1 t cider vinegar. Garnish with a little freshly-chopped dill if desired. Serve over cooked egg noodles or cooked lasagna, cut into 1” squares.
CREAMED HERRING WITH APPLE (śledź w śmietanie z jabłkiem): Drain a 14-16 oz jar of marinated herring, discarding onion and spices. Cut herring into 1½ inch or so serving-size pieces, plunge into a large pot of cold water for 1 min. Drain well in sieve until all dripping stops. Arrange pieces of herring on serving dish. Drizzle with juice of 1 small lemon (through a sieve to catch the pits). Coarsely grate 1 cored, peeled, small tart apple and mix with herring pieces. Arrange on serving dish. Slice 2 small onions wafer thin, break into rings and intersperse with herring. For-blend ½ – 1 c sour cream with 1 T prepared horseradish and pour over herring. Refrigerate covered several hrs before serving with boiled potatoes or rye bread.
FRIED BREADED PIKE (szczupak panierowany): Rinse 2 lbs fresh or thawed frozen pike fillets, dry on paper towel, place fish in dish, sprinkle with salt and refrigerate at least 1 hr. Sprinkle fillets with no more than 1 t.) lemon juice and several pinches of pepper, dredge in flower, dip in beaten egg and roll in plain bread crumbs or cracker crumbs. Press in breading with hand so it adheres evenly, then gently shake off excess crumbs. In skillet heat 1/2 c. oil and, when hot, add the fillets. Fry on medium-high until a nice crust forms on both sides, then reduce heat and cook until done. Fish is done when it loses its translucence and becomes flaky. Drain fried fish on paper towel. Walleye, whitefish, perch, cod or similar are also excellent. Serve with horseradish sauce (see below).
HORSERADISH SAUCE (sos chrzanowy): In mixing cup combine 1/2 c. mayonnaise, 1/2 c. sour cream, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 t. sugar and a heaping T. prepared non-creamed-type horseradish. Fork-blend until creamy and serve with fish.
SAUERKRAUT SALAD (salatka z kwaszonej kapusty): Drain 1 pt sauerkraut, reserving liquid. Rinse in plenty of cold water, drain again and press out as much moisture as possible. Chop coarse or fine as preferred and place in salad bowl. Add 1 minced onion (or several green onions (tops & bottoms) all finely chopped), a small grated carrot and 1 peeled, coarsely grated apple. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Sprinkle with 1-2 t. sugar, season with several twists of the pepper-mill and dress with 3 – 4 T. salad oil. If the salad is not as tart as you like, sprinkle it with a little of the reserved sauerkraut juice. Cover and let stand at room temp at least 1 hr before serving.
RICE & MUSHROOM GOŁĄBKI (goląbki z ryżem i grzybami): In 3 T butter, margarine or oil sauté 12 oz fresh Portobello mushrooms, washed and chopped fine, with 2 med chopped onions until lightly browned. Combine with 3 – 3½ c preferably slightly undercooked rice, barley or buckwheat groats. Add 1 raw egg and mix to blend ingredients. Salt & pepper to taste and garnish with 1 T chopped fresh parsley if desired. Fill and roll up pre-wilted cabbage leaves as usual and arrange in no more than 2 layers in baking dish. Drench with sauce made by dissolving 1 mushroom bouillon cube in 2 c boiling water and whisking in 1 small can of cream of mushroom soup until smooth. Bake in preheated 350° oven at least 2 hrs. Let stand covered until cooled to room temp and refrigerate overnight. Best when reheated before serving at Wigilia supper.
STEWED-FRUIT COMPOTE (kompot z suszu): Soak 1 c mixed dry fruit, 3 – 4 dried figs, diced and 1/2 c raisins in 2-1/2 – 3 c water 2 hrs. Add a little water if all has been absorbed and cook about 15 min. Optional: 1 small sliced lemon (which has been scrubbed well before being sliced) and a pinch of cinnamon may be added before cooking. Chill and serve in dessert bowls. The compote may be made with just, prunes & raisins or prunes & figs.
NOODLES & FRUIT (kluski z kompotem): The compote above may be served over cooked, well-drained egg noodles as one of the sweet dishes of Wigilia..
POLISH PANCAKES (racuszki): Beat 2 c sour milk or buttermilk with 2 eggs. Beat in 2 c + 2T flour until smooth. Stir into batter 1 t baking powder, 1 t baking soda and ½ t vanilla extract to batter if desired.) Spoon batter into ¼” deep hot oil, fry roughly 3” pancakes to a nice golden-brown on both sides and drain on absorbent paper. Add more oil during frying as needed. Serve hot, dusted with confectioner’s sugar or topped with preserves, jam, plum butter, syrup or canned pie filling of choice.
COUNTRY-STYLE FRUITCAKE (keks wiejski): Beat 5 whole eggs and 5 yolks with slightly heaped c sugar until fluffy. Combine 1-3/4 c flour with 1 level T baking powder and stir into egg mixture, beating until smooth. Stir in 1/4 c melted butter. Rinse 1 c raisins and 1 c chopped pitted prunes, drain, shake in plastic bag to coat with flour and stir into dough. Add 3 T finely chopped candied orange rind. Mix gently to evenly distribute fruit. Transfer to well-greased, flour-sprinkled loaf pan(s) and bake in 375° oven about 1 hr. Glaze after cooling, if desired. Optional: 1-2 chopped dried figs and/or dates may be added in place of some of the prunes or raisins.
HONEY-SPICE LIQUEUR (krupnik staropolski): In saucepan combine 1 c honey, 1 t vanilla extract, 1/8 t each: ground cloves, cinnamon and ginger root, allspice, a pinch of ground allspice, 2 pinches citric acid and (optional) 2 pinches ground pepper. Bring to gentle boil, stirring frequently and simmer until honey just begins to brown. Stir in 1/2 c boiling water, bring to boil, remove from heat and let stand covered 10 min. Stir in 3 – 4 c 100 proof vodka and let stand covered 10 min. Heat briefly, but do not boil. Strain through cheesecloth-lined funnel into decanter and serve hot in crystal liqueur glasses.