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  #1  
Old 03-14-2007, 09:40 AM
Missy2U Missy2U is offline
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Need help - Polish Easter Menu

My husband has asked that I make a traditional Polish Easter meal for his family (we're hosting this year). What, pray tell, IS a traditional Polish Easter meal?? He doesn't know, his mom doesn't know, his sister doesn't know - the only real Polish person in their family is dead. I've tried googling - but I'm not getting anywhere.

Can anyone here tell me what all is involved in a traditional Polish Easter meal?
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2007, 09:53 AM
August West August West is offline
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I have a Polish cookbook at home that I am 99% sure includes most of the major holidays and the traditional foods associated. I promise I'll look when I get home from work and report back.
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  #3  
Old 03-14-2007, 10:06 AM
twickster twickster is offline
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Just a question -- if no one knows what a Polish Easter dinner is, how do they know they'd like it?
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  #4  
Old 03-14-2007, 10:19 AM
Missy2U Missy2U is offline
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AugustWest, thanks!

twickster - they don't. They're kinda goofy. I asked him this myself - he said to tell him what food is involved, and then he'd tell me if they would all like it. I'm beginning to wonder if I should just order Popeye's chicken.
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  #5  
Old 03-14-2007, 10:29 AM
gwendee gwendee is offline
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The one thing I know is specifically for Easter is hard boiled eggs sliced in half topped with horseradish - the egg for rebirth and the horseradish cleans your slate for the new year.

The rest I think could be traditional Polish any holiday meal which certainly includes Easter.

Pieroggies

ham or kielbase (if you have a good butcher/sausage source where you are. I'm told Hillshire Farms is NOT acceptable though as salty meats go I like it just fine)

chrzan (pronounced shan) a mixture of horseradish and pickled beets served as a relish with whatever meat you serve.

Okay I found a link which I would suspect will get you a little closer to the genuine article.

http://annhetzelgunkel.com/easter/eastfood.html
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  #6  
Old 03-14-2007, 10:37 AM
LateComer LateComer is offline
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Here are some examples. My aunt makes Duck's blood soup for Easter. She does not kill the duck herself, she has a guy. Tell your husband that this is what you're making and they'll probably change their minds.
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  #7  
Old 03-14-2007, 10:44 AM
Mr. Moto Mr. Moto is offline
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If I were you, I'd just marry the beet salad and horseradish eggs with pierogi, kielbasa, and stuffed cabbage. Maybe some haluski (cabbage fried in butter and onions and then tossed with egg noodles). All the old Polish faves in one meal should satisfy, and who cares if they're not "Polish Easter" foods. The fact that they're Polish foods that you're eating at Easter should be good enough.

I've had stuffed cabbage and haluski and kielbasa at plenty of Easter meals, and I'm Italian. Of course, I grew up in a Polish town.

Faworki would work well for dessert, and should be easy. Have Tums on hand.
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2007, 10:50 AM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Piergoies, Golumpkies , kielbasa, sour kraut and musturd....Deviled eggs.

I'm a Polack whose family is from North Chicago.... Those are the staples. Don't forget Kruschiki for dessert.
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2007, 11:11 AM
lachesis lachesis is offline
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geez, it's been so long since family get-togethers at Easter.... let's see if i can remember anything.
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baked ham would probably be fine, if you can't find decent keilbasa.

pierogis, DEFINITELY pierogis. i always loooved the prune-filled ones. saurkraut, cheese/potato are also traditional. covered with browned butter and onions (cooked in the browned butter, of course).

stuffed cabbage, of course.

rice cooked with milk. it's almost like a soup.

we used to have the traditional dyed hard-boiled Easter eggs, but there was an additional tradition of "cracking" them by having two people do it by having one strike their egg against the other person's egg. whichever egg did NOT get cracked bestowed "luck" on its owner.

for dessert, home-make kulacki (that's only a stab at the spelling--it's pronounced ko-LUTCH-key). cream-cheese pastry/cookie with poppy seed, prune or apricot fillings. flaky and YUMMMM.

also nut bread and poppy seed bread. probably a slightly sweet bread dough with chopped (pecans? dang, my memory's getting bad) in a spreadable slightly sweetened filling, spread over the dough rectange and then rolled jelly-roll style. poppy seed bread is the same, just different filling.

damn, i miss those dinners at my Grandma's........


{DISCLAIMER: this was a Polish/Slovak household, so there may be some slippage in pure ethnic slant. if you care about that or anything.}

edited because i can't BELIEVE anyone with a drop of Polish blood could possibly have forgotten to mention the stuffed cabbage!!!

Last edited by lachesis; 03-14-2007 at 11:14 AM..
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  #10  
Old 03-14-2007, 01:06 PM
Missy2U Missy2U is offline
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Thanks - this sounds great - he's going to love this!!
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  #11  
Old 03-14-2007, 04:11 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I'm not Polish, nor (so far as I know) is anyone in my family, but we still always have pierogis at every big family meal, as well as (usually) kielbasa and saurkraut. If you're trying for a Polish theme, you absolutely can't miss those.

lachesis, for the past few years I've had a few Ukrainian guests at Easter dinner, and they tell me that they did the egg-breaking thing, too. Except with them, it was a sort of tournament, with the last egg standing getting all of the luck.
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  #12  
Old 03-14-2007, 07:04 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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I say, go for the Czarnina (duck-blood soup). That'll teach 'em.

It's a real Easter Polish dish, too.

The other thing that's necessary is the way-too-dry coconut covered yellow cake in the shape of a lamb that your grandmother sends each year with more or less success at arriving in the original shape. Poppy and nut rolls and keilbasa are optional.
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  #13  
Old 03-14-2007, 07:36 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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The butter lamb - butter molded in to the shape of a lamb (hence the name). If you live in an area with a Polish market, or a lot of Polish Americans, they will sell them in the stores (complete with a Polish flag on a toothpick stuck into it). You can also invest in your own lamb mold.

Easter bread - I'm not sure what kind of bread this is, my grandmother made it with either raisin bread or something like an egg bread. It's baked in a coffee can (like the standard Maxwell House can), so you serve it standing up like a tower. Take two pieces of dough and make a cross on the top and brush with egg, it gets browner and crunchier than the rest of the bread while it's baking. If memory serves, you fill the can about 2/3 with dough so that it rises to about the top of the can. Obviously (I think) the coffee can part is a Polish-American tradition.
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  #14  
Old 03-14-2007, 08:06 PM
nashiitashii nashiitashii is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus
Poppy and nut rolls and keilbasa are optional.
But poppy rolls are so tasty! (And such an easy way to fail a drug test after eating one. )
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  #15  
Old 03-14-2007, 09:22 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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My mother made her own simplified version of this traditional Easter soup:

http://www.soupsong.com/rbarscz.html

There are many variations. In Poland it would depend on the ingredients available in the area, so improvising is allowed.

I never got my mother's exact recipe, but it was something like this:

1 canned ham
hard-boiled eggs
rye bread
Polish sausage
flour
vinegar
horseradish

Make a thin, bland soup with water and the gelatin from the canned ham. Add some flour to thicken it a bit. Add a bit of vinegar and horseradish for taste.

Dice ham, sausage, rye bread. Slice/cut eggs. Combine in a large bowl.

Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Let everyone spoon the above diced ingredients into their own bowls. Provide additional vinegar and horseradish for individual seasoning.
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  #16  
Old 03-14-2007, 09:29 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Well, my folks are both from Poland, so I could hopefully tell you what's traditional at least from their part of Poland (the south). Horseradish, sausages, hard-boiled eggs, salt, and butter (all of which are blessed before the meal, usually during the Holy Saturday blessing of the eggs) occupy a prominent place at the table. The sausages we usually get blessed are long, skinny dried ones called kabanos. Also, there's usually a spread of sliced Polish ham and Polish rye bread to go along with the rest of those items.

A soup course of white borsch/zurek is usual. Zurek is a mildly sour soup that's made by fermenting some rye flour and water (kind of a pickle lactic-acid fermentation) for several days, adding garlic, spices, and stock to complete the base, and then you cook it with potatoes, sausage (either white or smoked Polish sausage), and hard boiled eggs. If you live near a Polish grocery/deli, you may be able to find a jar of the fermented zakwas to start your soup, or the powdered version of the soup are often pretty good, as well, although I usually add some vinegar to bring the tartness up a bit.

For the main course, we do a roast of some sort. I believe the traditional meats are pork and veal, although for the last few years we've done lamb. Actually, here's a pretty decent Easter menu I found. I'm not sure about the asparagus in tomato and yogurt, but the rest is pretty commonly found at the Easter table. The Easter Soup recipe on that page is an approximation of zurek and a pretty poor one at that, from what I can see. This would be a more authentic recipe, although the Polish Easter version will also contain horseradish and the blessed, hardboiled eggs in its ingredients.

What else? I don't ever recall having pierogi at a typical Easter Sunday meal, but I don't see why you couldn't do it. Scanning the web indicates that some people do it pierogi on Easter Sunday, so it may just be a thing my family doesn't do.

And for the correct Polish spellings of various dishes in this thread (obviously, there are accepted American spellings of these dishes as well), with accents, should anyone need to google them:

Czernina/czarnina - Polish duck blood soup
Gałąbki - "little pigeons", stuffed cabbages
Kolaczki - little Polish cookies/pastries
żurek/barszcz biały - Polish sour soup
Chruściki - Polish bow-tie cookies ("kruschiki")

And chrzan ("horseradish") is better rendered as "KSHAHN" in English, although the initial consonant is a guttural "h," kind of like in "loch".

Last edited by SkipMagic; 03-15-2007 at 02:53 AM.. Reason: Fixed coding.
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  #17  
Old 03-14-2007, 09:37 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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A good substitute for Polish sausage is to buy a tube of Jimmy Dean and mix in a healthy dose of marjoram. Good stuff. My wife remembers this flavor from growing up in a house of Polish immigrants.
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  #18  
Old 03-14-2007, 11:01 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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The completely butchered link in my post fixed.
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  #19  
Old 03-15-2007, 03:39 AM
jellyblue jellyblue is offline
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Wow, you guys are taking me back! I used to carve the little lamb out of butter every year - clove eyes .

My aunt made THE BEST pierogies - filled with cottage cheese of all things. I also remember the bright magenta horseradish (colored with beet juice) on gray kielbasa. Ahh...gives me acid reflux just thinking about it!
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  #20  
Old 03-15-2007, 11:17 AM
August West August West is offline
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Well most of what I found in my cookbook has been covered here already.

Some additions:

It is customary to greet guest with a wedge of hard boiled egg.

There is a Polish cheesecake with raisins that is a traditional Easter dish. (forgot the name)

Having a large selection of roasted meats. Leftovers are used the next day to make bigos ( the best stew in the world, IMO)

And my favorite? Krupnik, or Fire Vodka. It is vodka flavored with honey and herbs and is served after dinner.

Last edited by August West; 03-15-2007 at 11:17 AM.. Reason: I are a gud speeler
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  #21  
Old 03-15-2007, 01:24 PM
Missy2U Missy2U is offline
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Thanks to all of you - so much!! I'm thinking we'll go with:

We're going to do the hard boiled egg thing - he was just complaining last night about when we're going to do the eggs - I told him to SLOW DOWN since Easter is three weeks away.

Tentative menu:
Roasted Ham
Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
Pierogies - 3 different kinds
The stuffed cabbage rolls (Galumpkis)
Pickled Beets/Horseradish salad thing
Rye Bread
Definitely little butter lambs!! (I'm so psyched about the little butter lambs!!! Squee for little butter lambs!!!)
I may also do the sauteed cabbage Mr.Moto mentioned or maybe sweet and sour cabbage - I'll see.
Some other non ethnic stuff that I'll figure out when I get to the store - we have to have some "normal" food since not everyone is into Polish Food.

Soup is out - he says they aren't "soup" people. I asked him just what a "soup person" was and what one looked like - as you can imagine, the conversation deteriorated from there.

Deserts are going to be what everyone suggested - I have a wonderful polish deli and bakery in Lake Zurich a friend just told me about after I told her what I was being asked to do ( ) - so they get to take a real load off me by doing all the yummy desserts! And that's where I'll get the kielbasa too, I think.
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  #22  
Old 03-15-2007, 02:14 PM
Mr. Moto Mr. Moto is offline
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Please take the advice of some of us and have antacids on hand. Polish food is great, but very unforgiving.

The first time Mrs. Moto ate haluski, she just about tore my parent's house apart desperately looking for a Rolaids.
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  #23  
Old 03-15-2007, 02:32 PM
Missy2U Missy2U is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Moto
Please take the advice of some of us and have antacids on hand. Polish food is great, but very unforgiving.

The first time Mrs. Moto ate haluski, she just about tore my parent's house apart desperately looking for a Rolaids.
Ok - I'll make sure to add it to the list. Thanks for clarifying - I wasn't sure if y'all were just joking or not - I'll pick up a big bottle of TUMS.
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  #24  
Old 03-15-2007, 02:58 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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You menu looks great! Should make any Polish mother proud. Have fun!
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