Polska: Farmer’s Cheese, Rye bread, Kielbasa, Pierogi, Kapusta z Grochem, Kapusta z Kielbasa, Mizeria
This was a really fun meal to cook and host (and eat!). A few months ago I saw that my friend was teaching a class on making pierogi at the Rochester Brainery, so I signed up to learn all things pierogi. It was a fantastic class and I felt quite prepared after the class to cook pierogi for a crew. I sat with a wonderful couple at the class who told me about their family’s heritage of Polish food and culture.
I planned out my menu, and it was only until I started cooking that I realized that for a meal highlighting cheese and carbs in the form of pierogi I’d decided to make cheese and carbs for an appetizer (bread and cheese). Oops! Or, Awesome! Depending on your perspective 🙂
I’ve been into making homemade bread lately, so I made homemade Polish rye bread – a simple version that uses buttermilk rather than a starter. And so easy with the Kitchenaid. It’s a dense bread that smells heavenly while baking and perfect for slathering with butter or cheese.
I made homemade farmer’s cheese to accompany the bread, which is a common cheese in Poland. It’s super simple and similar to making ricotta cheese. I let it drain a little too long, even though I didn’t use the weight like the recipe suggests, so it got a bit dry and crumbly, but still had great flavor with the herbs.
To round out the appetizers I bought two types of smoke kielbasa at Polska Chata, a great Polish store in Rochester.
You should take Anna’s pierogi class at the Brainery to learn how to make this version! But in the meantime here’s a recipe from the husband’s grandmother of the couple I sat with at the pierogi class.
I made two versions of kapusta (cabbage) – one with kielbasa and one with split yellow peas. For the kielbasa version I used this recipe and for the split yellow pea version I used this recipe. For the vegetarian version I ended up cooking it longer and adding brown sugar per the other recipe, since that seemed like it would add more flavor. Ultimately I ended up liking the flavor of the split pea version best because the fresh cabbage diluted some of the sourness of the straight sauerkraut, and the peas added some sweetness.
To add a little freshness to the dinner I made Mizeria, a simple Polish cucumber salad.
There were eight adults and two babies for this meal and we had a great evening of chatting and laughing and eating, all while listening to polka music!