Through well-loved family recipes focused on farm-fresh produce, Monika Carruthers introduces the delights of Polish cuisine.
(Chilled beet soup)
Prepare the beets by removing and dicing the stems up to the leaves. Add the chopped stems to a large soup pot. Peel and grate the beets, then add to the pan with enough salted boiling water to cover. Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Leave the beet mixture to cool. Add the cucumber, radishes, dill, garlic, buttermilk and yogurt. Stir well and season to taste. Chill and serve garnished with hard-boiled eggs.
(Stuffed cabbage rolls)
Cut out the hard centre of the cabbage,and place the head in a pot of boiling salted water (cut side down). Cover and simmer for eight minutes. Leave to cool. Combine the pre-cooked rice, raw beef, fried onions, eggs and marjoram. Remove the cabbage leaves, putting two tablespoons of stuffing on each. Roll tightly, tucking in the sides. Layer the pot with additional cabbage leaves to prevent the rolls from sticking to the bottom. Arrange the rolls tightly in the pot, submerged in water. Cover and simmer for 60 minutes, before draining. Fry the remaining ingredients in a separate pan to form a smooth sauce. Pour over the cabbage rolls and cook gently for five minutes. Garnish with chopped marjoram and serve with warm, crusty bread or boiled potatoes.
(Polish apple pie)
Make a dough by combining the flour, butter, 150 g sugar and egg yolks. Divide into one third and two third parts. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Caramelise the remaining sugar in a frying pan. Add the apples, cinnamon and vanilla extract once the caramel turns golden brown. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Use the larger section of dough to make a 14-inch pie crust, bake at 180°C for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and then layer on the apple filling. Lightly cover the apples with the remaining dough, grated. Bake for around 30 minutes at 180°C. Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve. Smacznego!