Merry Christmas !
May the Spirit of Christmas bring you Peace,
The Gladness of Christmas give you hope
The Warmth of Christmas grant you Love
May your holiday season be as beautiful as a Winter Wonderland!
Family members begin the celebration with a prayer and breaking of the Christmas wafer (opłatek – symbolising the bread eaten daily — our day-to-day common life) and wishing each other good fortune in the upcoming new year.
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With all best wishes
Christmas in Poland
Many people in Poland celebrate Christmas Eve (Wigilia) on December 24…..
In Poland, Christmas Eve is a day first of fasting, then of feasting. The Wigilia feast begins at the appearance of the first star. There is no red meat served but fish, usually carp. The supper, which includes many traditional dishes and desserts, can sometimes last for over two hours. It is followed by the exchange of gifts. The next day, the Christmas Day, is often spent visiting friends. In Polish tradition, people combine religion and family closeness at Christmas. Although gift-giving plays a major role in the rituals, emphasis is placed more on the making of special foods and decorations.
On the night of Christmas Eve, so important is the appearance of the first star in remembrance of the Star of Bethlehem, that it has been given an affectionate name of “the little star” or Gwiazdka (the female counterpart of St. Nicholas). On that evening, children watch the sky anxiously hoping to be the first to cry out, “The star has come!” Only after it appears, the family members sit down to a dinner table…..
Christmas in Poland is the most solemn festival (there are only Easter which may have the same importance). The tradition of this celebration – family and intimate – is very old. There are even traces of these traditions from the time of ancient Slavic tribes.We began the meal at sundown, with the appearance of the first star – yet guetté forward by the children.
It began by presenting their wishes to everyone sharing the symbolic bread (opłatek). This beautiful tradition is still alive in Poland. This evening is the best for the children – the fairy tale becomes reality when under the tree they find beautiful gifts they dreamed.Recall certain traditions, characteristic for the Polish Christmas. Some are saved only in the countryside, but there are many who also exist in the cities.
The tradition is the largest share of the symbolic bread (opłatek). The former “opłatek” was all colors and highly decorated. Today they are white with design hurry.
Another beautiful Polish tradition, it only invites people for Christmas – so that no one is alone and sad. We must not forget the Polish Christmas carols (kolędy).
These magnificent songs, known and sung by all, give a specific atmosphere at Christmas Polish. Even Frederic Chopin used the melody singing Christmas “Lulajże Jezuniu” in his Scherzo in B – minor.
The custom of visiting the homes of people with large colored star disappears already. But the tradition of preparing nurseries Kraków is always cultivated a large and competition for the most beautiful nursery is held annually in Krakow. Of course, there is also a crib in all the churches. Christmas and Easter are the largest culminations of the year culinary Poland.
For Christmas Eve / Wigilia /, the most important is the dinner which is a meager meal. But our ancestors came to make it a true feast despite this constraint and the meal “lean” Polish is well known throughout the world. In the houses of the nobility and the bourgeoisie meal was composed of twelve dishes – such as the number of apostles. This was mainly based dishes of fish, and in particular we had to prepare the famous carp or pike in his gray sauce. Sometimes there were so many dishes, which they greatly exceeded in number the traditional figure. But, we found the solution – every dish of fish were counted as a dish!On the Eve began with the traditional soup – most often the “barszcz (beet soup), mushroom soup or – more rarely – almond soup. Then we used, in addition to the fish, sauerkraut pea, meals made from dried mushrooms, dried fruit compotes and traditional desserts made from poppy (łamańce poppy or kutia) and cakes – (primarily cake Poppy).
The vigil supper concludes with family members giving gifts to one another. Christmas carols are also sung. Some families attend the traditional midnight mass (pasterka).
It is still believed that whatever happens on the Wigilia day has an impact on the following year. So, if a quarrel should arise, it foretells a quarrelsome and troublesome year. If, in the morning the first visiting person is a man, it means good luck, if a woman, one might expect misfortune. Everyone, however, is glad when a mailman comes by, for it means money and success in the future.
And now some traditional recipes.
Soup Christmas to the beet (Barszcz wigilijny)
The recipe earliest date to the sixteenth century. There are two recipes from the classic “barszcz” – a lean Christmas and the other on the basis of meat broth for Easter. Both versions are prepared on the basis of pure natural beet.Cut beets into slices washed and peeled. Arrange in a jar and fill the jar with warm water (water should cover beets). One can ask above a slice of bread (which speeds up the process). Cover the jar with a gauze pad and let stand in a warm place. After four to five days to remove the foam that forms on the surface and put the liquid in bottles. The bottles can be kept closed for several months.”Barszcz” Christmas is prepared basis of vegetable broth without cabbage (celery, parsley, carrots, leeks, onions). Cook the vegetables with beet 4 peeled and cut into slices. Add a few grains of black pepper and a laurel leaf. Separately cook 50 – 80 g of dried mushrooms. Skip two broths to the colander and mix. Now we add a dose of yeast beets (1 1 / 2 l broth – 1 / 2 l leaven). Bring to a boil and stop. To get an even more beautiful color can add beet juice or flood. Then add salt, pepper (possibly a pinch of sugar or lemon juice). You can add garlic.Traditionally, it accompanies the “barszcz” by the “uszka
” – “little ears” (recipe below). It takes 6 to 8 ears per person. Put small ears cooked in the vessel and pour on top of the hot soup.
“Ears” (uszka) for the beet soup
The dough: 150 g flour, 1 egg, 1 pinch salt. Knead the dough and flatten with the roll into a very thin layer. Cut squares (4 x 4 cm or smaller). Ask a little joke on each square, fold the square diagonally, paste the edges and then paste the two opposing angles of the triangle. Put in boiling salted water. When they come to the surface – they are ready.The stuffing: very finely chop the dried mushrooms cooked with broth has been added to the beet soup. Chop a small onion, brown in the pan. Mix all the ingredients with 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs and 1 egg. Add salt and pepper. The stuffing is ready.
Christmas soup with mushrooms
Put the casserole in 100 g of dried mushrooms and 2 litres of water warm and bring to a boil over low heat. When the mushrooms are cooked, add cabbage without vegetables (celery, carrot, parsley, onion), pepper, bay leaf and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Pass soup colander, salt and add the cooked mushrooms and cut into strips. Add chunks of cooked lasagna before. You can add the cream.
Carp to the Polish in his gray sauce
It is a recipe for Christmas well known. There are several versions of this dish – one cited below is the most characteristic for the kitchen of former Poland. It is also a dish that requires work, but it’s worth being prepared for Christmas.Clean and cut into steaks a beautiful carp (weight approx. 1 kg). If the fish was alive, keep the blood in a bowl or on a paid juice 1 / 2 lemon.Place fish in a pan, pour on top of the broth prepared a little celery, cut into strips, 1 large onion, 1 cup red wine, 1 lemon zest, a few grains of pepper, 1 / 3 of a spoon Coffee ginger juice and 1 / 2 lemon. Place fish cooked on the hot plate, and keep warm. Skip broth to the colander for a sauce finely mixed, add the blood of carp (if it was), a glass of beer, 2 to 3 pieces of sugar, 1 tablespoon of jam prunes, 50 g Gingerbread based honey and grated dry, gd’amandes cut into 50 pieces, 50 of raisins and 1 tablespoon butter great. Cook the sauce over low heat 10 to 15 minutes, cool slightly, verify its taste and napper fish in the dish.
For those who find this recipe too complicated, another traditional dish – ie:
The pike in the water to the former
It is also a traditional dish and if it serves two meals pike fish should be served first.Clean and salt pike (weight approx. 1 kg). Prepare a vegetable broth (without cabbage), 1 large onion, a few grains of pepper and a bay leaf. Put the pike in the whole fish, and then the cold broth on top, bring to a boil. Bake 15 -20 minutes on low heat, covered. Keep warm.Melt in a pan 50 g of butter. 3 Add finely chopped hard-boiled eggs and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Do not fry, just heat.Ask the pike hot on a platter, pour the juice of 1 / 2 lemon and dispose above the preparation of butter, egg and parsley. According connoisseurs it is the most correct way to serve the pike to emphasize the distinct taste of this excellent fish.You can also prepare the traditional dish as simple as follows:
Carp panée as steaks
Clean carp, cut the steaks with salt and let stand 30 minutes. Pass each steaks in flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs. Fry over medium heat the butter. Put in the oven a few minutes to finish cooking. You can marry carp to the sauerkraut with mushrooms.
The sauerkraut with mushrooms
This dish is a good example of the traditional Polish cuisine.1 kg of sauerkraut (if it is too acidic, rinse through a sieve), 2 large glasses of water. Bake. Separately, cook 50-80g dried mushrooms in a small amount of water. The slice them and add broth with her in sauerkraut cooked. Add 1 large chopped onion and golden, and the roux prepared in a tablespoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of butter. Salt and pepper and cook a little while.
Or sauerkraut and mushroomsDOUGH: 350 g flour, 1 egg, approx. 1 / 2 glass of water, a pinch of saltPrepare the stuffing according to the recipe.Pour the flour on a board, make a hollow, add salt, egg, and a quantity of water to make a paste quickly not too hard. Spread rolls with the small parties, the board dusting of flour. Crop circles using a glass in order to put the most possible meadows. Ask the stuffing on each round with a spoon, fold each circle in half and glue the edges. Submit as on a floured board or a cloth. Use the leftover dough to make the next part of “pierogi.” Bake a few minutes in boiling salted water. Serve sprinkled with melted butter, possibly with an onion cut into cubes and browned.
STUFFING THE CHOUCROUTE: ok. 800 g of sauerkraut, 2 onions, oil, salt, pepperCook the cabbage in a small amount of water for 30 minutes. Peel and chop onions and brown. Drain sauerkraut carefully, chop them finely, add the browned onions, salt, pepper and mix.
STUFFING THE CHOUCROUTE AND MUSHROOMS: approx. 800 g of sauerkraut, 100 grams of dried mushrooms, 2 onions, oil, salt, pepperRinse mushrooms, soak for several hours, cook in water soaking, drain. Mince. Cook the cabbage in a small amount of water for 30 minutes. Peel and chop onions and brown. Drain sauerkraut carefully, chop them finely, add the browned onions, mushrooms, salt, pepper and mix.Now something for dessert.
The split poppy (Lamance z makiem)
It is a traditional dessert prepared based poppy decorated by long shortbread biscuits.Put a large glass poppy in a pan, add above 2 glasses of milk boiling and keep over low heat for 15 -20 minutes. Drain through a colander. Crush the seeds when moving the poppy three times by the meat chopper. Then add 2 / 3 glass of liquid honey, vanilla, 100 g raisins soaked in rum before or cognac and 100 gd’amandes peeled and chopped. If the preparation is too thick, add a little cream liquid. You can add a small glass of good cognac. Then refrigerate. Before serving have in a glass bowl and top with “broken”.The dough for broken (łamańce).Knead the dough using 130 grams of flour, 60 g of butter, 30 g powdered sugar and 1 egg yolk. Flatten roll. Cut 2 rectangles x 7 cm and cook in the oven.There is an alternative – the dough “lean” – 120 g flour, 120 grams of sugar and 1 egg. Prepare as above.
The rolled in poppy (Makowiec)
The brioche dough:300 grams of flour, 150 grams of sugar, 150 g of butter, 2 eggs (or 1 egg and 2 egg yolks), 1 / 2 cup of milk, 40 grams of baking yeast and a pinch of salt.Work the butter with sugar to obtain a homogeneous mass. Add eggs in a, salt and yeast baking diluted with milk. Finally, add the flour and knead the dough very carefully with her hand. Cover with a towel and let stand in a warm place for at least one hour. Flatten the dough then climb with the roll on a board sprinkled with flour by the shape of a rectangle. With the brush move a layer of egg white (so that the stuffing glue well) and have the stuffing to poppy regularly. Roll out the dough stick ends. Put butter in pan and let stand a little longer. Bake in oven 45 -50 minutes. After cooking you can glaze the log.The farce poppy:Put the casserole in 400 g of opium and pay above 1 litre of milk boiling. Keep on low heat for 30 minutes. Drain through the sieve. Crush the seeds when moving the poppy three – four times by the meat chopper.Melt in a pan 150 g of butter, 3 / 4 of full glass of honey, add vanilla, 100 gd’amandes or chopped nuts, 150 grams of raisins, 1 / 2 cup of orange peel fries sugar and chopped. Now add the poppy and cook a little mixing. Cool. Add 3 to 4 egg yolks beaten with a glass of white sugar and beaten in the remaining snow very firm. The taste will be further refined if we add a glass of rum or cognac. Place the stuffing still lukewarm on the dough.
The gingerbread nuts
The dough prepared with honey was known already by the ancient Slavs. But the “discovery” of spices and yeast dough has turned into hard gingerbread today. The most famous were the gingerbread Torun Nuremberg and mussels cooked in beautifully carved. “Catherinettes” Torun were known already in 1640.Components: 500 grams of flour, 250 grams of sugar, 250 g of honey, 150 g walnuts, 4 to 5 eggs, 2 tablespoons of caramel liquid (10 g brown sugar on the stove, add 2 to 3 tablespoons water, bring to boiling), 1 teaspoon spices (cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg), 10 g of sodium bicarbonate, 50 – 100 g butter.Work the butter, add the egg yolks, one by one, sugar, liquid honey, baking soda, caramel, spices and half the flour. Mounting white snow and put in the preparation by adding the remaining flour and chopped nuts. Pour batter into the pan and bake in the oven. You can glaze gingerbread with chocolate or fill with jam or cream chocolate.
“KOMPOT” (DRINK THE CHRISTMAS BASED ON DRY)
For approx. 10 sharesComponents: 250 g dried fruit (prunes, apples, pears, apricots, raisins, figs), a few cloves, cinnamon1 / 2 cup sugar, 2 1 / 2 litres waterSoak fruit for a few hours. Add sugar, cloves, cinnamon and cook slowly. Serve chilled in a large bowl.Prepared according to the book “In the kitchen of old Poland” and “The Polish cuisine”And the site http://www.kuchnia.com.pl/
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