12 plates on Christmas (Eve)

Poland Travel Blog

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during Christmas we need a huge artillery.
In Poland the biggest celebration is on the Christmas Eve's evening. There's a big dinner that traditionally should contain 12 non-meat dishes.  One has to try every single dish to avoid bad luck next year. The specific number "12" is connected to the amount of the apostles of Jesus. Dishes are usually fish based, with carp being very important in Poland. Of course the dishes are different depending on the region in Poland, but there are some "must be"s on the Christmas Eve's table. Of course it's not a big mystery that I love food, so I couldn't help myself from writting this entry. Come by tomorrow for the traditions of Christmas Eve. Today there's the list of the most popular dishes Poles will enjoy tomorrow.

12 Plates on Christmas
On the 1th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Mushroom soup (Zupa Grzybowa)
- soups, in general, are very popular in Poland. In houses where are grandmothers everyday dinner contains 2 courses, and the soup is always the first coures.
Preparation of mushroom soup.
Novadays it has changed of course, because no one has time to eat a dinner (in Poland we eat dinner about 3-5 p.m., instead of lunch, that we don't have) like that, much less prepare it, but when my grandmother was alive, and living with us, soup was an everyday meal. It can be mushroom cream or a soup doesn't matter. To mushroom soup you can always add some kind of short, thin pasta.

On the 2nd plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Borscht (Barszcz)
-The basic Polish borscht recipe includes red beetroot, onions, and other vegetables such as carrots and celery or parsnip. The key to a good borscht is a strong taste, don't hesitate to add lots of black pepper. Another key component is acidity. It's a version of Red Borscht, but in Poland there are other types like, traditional for Easter White Borscht, made from fermented rye with addition of mashed potates and Polish thick sausage kiełbasa.
in Poland we call it "the greek fish". I don't know why
Of course Christma Eve's Borscht can't exist without...

On the 3th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Uszka
- let's settle for calling it Polish dumplings ravioli-like. Uszka ("Little Ears", because of the shape) with mushroom filling or sauerkraut, or both depending on the family. During the year there is also an option with minced meat, but as I said before Christmas in a time of lent- so no meat. Uszka can either float in the soup, or be eaten as a side dish.

On the 4th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Carp
-
tomorrow everyone gets it. At the time I'm writing this entry, probably in every second bathtub in Poland alive carps are waiting for their destiny.
herring in oil
Because it's very common to but a live carp and kill it on your own, just before preparation. Talk about fresh sea food. It's prepared very simple, most often it's just baked or fried. There is also different popular variation- more salty served in jelly. 

On the 5th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Herring (Śledź)
- Oh, there are so many ways of serving herring in Poland. Not only Japanese have sushi. In Poland we also eat raw fish. And by fish I mean mostly herrings. First you put them in some salty water, then after removing some salt, we put it into milk, for a day or so. And add some spices like pepper, pimento a juniper leaf etc. Then rinse the milk and salt and add some onion, garlic or whatever and pour the oil (olive, garlic-what you like).
sauerkraut with mushrooms
Keep it for two or three days and it's good to go. There' s also an option of herring in śmietana (that is an sour version of cream)

On the 6th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Sauerkraut with mushrooms (Kapusta z grzybami)
-
yum. It's basically the easier and meatless version of bigos (more about bigos will be on the first day of Christmas). You add also some prunes.

On the 7th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Sauerkraut with peas (Kapusta z grochem)
- less acidity than in the option with mushrooms it's also like heavier in taste.
sauerkraut with pea


On the 8th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Makiełki
Ok. We don't eat makiełki in my house, but it's a very popular dish in Poznan region and in Silesia. It's a poppy seed-based dessert. And it's eaten almost only during Christmas. The main ingredient are: sweet white bread and finely ground poppy seeds boiled in milk with butter. Other important ingredients include: dried fruit (figs, raisins, apricots, dates, etc.) almonds and other kinds of nuts (the choice of nuts and dried fruit varies). It is flavoured with sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and rum.

On the 9th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Kutia
Also not among my family and friend, but in some regions of Poland it's a must-be meal.
pierogi with mushroom preparation
It's a type of a sweet grain pudding. Very rarely served on other occasions and if so, mostly during after funeral wake ceremony

On the 10th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Pierogi (with mushrooms/sauerkraut/mushrooms and sauerkraut)
-are a dish consisting of boiled or baked dumplings of unleavened dought stuffed with varying ingredients. On Christmas Eve- meatless. In Poland they are always semicircular shape. Besides Christmas Eve there are also versions of pierogi with meat served with chopped pieces of bacon and melted butter, pierogi stuffed with mixed white curd-like cheeseand potatoes- in Poland we call these Rusyn pierogi. There is also a sweet option, with cottage cheese some cinamon, milk and sugar. Also a version with different types of boiled fruits- most common strawberries- knedle. It used to be a peasants dish, but now it's an important part of Polish culture, and everybody like these.
gingerbread house


On the 11th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Kompot
-God, I hate Kompot. It's one of the miracles of the globalization that now we have juices in Poland. But when I was younger the kompots were almost always served instead of juices, that were hard to buy. It's a punch like light, refreshing drink most often made of dried fruit (raisins, prunes, apricots, etc.) boiled in water with sugar and left to cool and infuse. It's extremely popular in Poland and neighbour countries. In Poland served whole year, especially on the coutryside, where you had a lot of fruits all the time. I hate the consistency of kompots, with some boiled fruits in the dink. Yuck....

On the 12th plate on Christmas my mommy made for me: Gingerbread
- don't have to explain. And it's hard as hell. Difficult to swallow.
on one of the pre-christmas parties


Oh look. I manage to remember the 12 dishes. Of course depending on one's family traditions there could be some different stuff served. As I said before in my family we don't prepare makiełki or kutia. So this is what we will be enjoying tomorrow. Obesity! here we come. Check out tomorrow's entry for the Christmas eve's traditions. And if anyone would like to prepare some of these stuff, contact me, will give you a recipe.
sylviandavid says:
tomorrow is my father's birthday and quite a few of the polish foods are russian... (He wanted to cook Russian .... so I have been looking at recipe books.) Great blog Kamila... Well written and fun to read. Sylvia
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010
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during Christmas we need a huge ar…
during Christmas we need a huge a…
Preparation of mushroom soup.
Preparation of mushroom soup.
in Poland we call it the greek fi…
in Poland we call it "the greek f…
herring in oil
herring in oil
sauerkraut with mushrooms
sauerkraut with mushrooms
sauerkraut with pea
sauerkraut with pea
pierogi with mushroom preparation
pierogi with mushroom preparation
gingerbread house
gingerbread house
on one of the pre-christmas parties
on one of the pre-christmas parties
beautiful decoration
beautiful decoration
its all edible
it's all edible
yum!
yum!
tables on some pre-christmas party
tables on some pre-christmas party
in preparation
in preparation
all that future dish washing!
all that future dish washing!