Polish cooking, Aspic of Pike, Written by Lechu
Aspic of Pike, Pike Township style
For centuries fish were plentiful. Poor people could not afford meat, but fish, wild mushrooms, or wild berries were always available, and considered as inferior foods. Polish people used to say “Fish and mushrooms, flour and meadow” to describe a rich country farm, where everything was plentiful. Sometimes, when even fishes ware scant, people stated that “A crayfish is also a fish, when there are no other fishes in lake”. Many other sayings and proverbs use fish as their subject. A rich and influential person is a “fat fish”. Sometimes “we are fishing in murky waters”, making not-too honest deals. Then we complain, that “the first part of a fish that rots, is its head”, meaning that corruption of government proceeds corruption of society. Sometimes children “go fishing at night” i.e. bed wetting.
But let’s leave kidneys alone, this is a culinary corner, so focus on stomach. Nowadays fish cost more than meat. It is difficult to buy quality fish in our area. However, a good cook can create very sophisticated dishes utilizing fish. This is case of cook featured today. The editor of this culinary corner is indebted to Margaret, for her willingness to share her secret recipe. It is fully understandable that, as expected, recipe will be sophisticated. It is unlikely to turn you into a rich person, but it will definitely enrich your culinary palate.
Polish cooking (Operatic bigos, also known as hunters’ stew ) Written by Lechu
Operatic bigos, also known as hunters’ stew An outstanding meal Is bigos, because it is composed of vegetables. One takes shredded sour kraut Which according to a proverb, is mouthwatering Cooked in a pot, where it embraces The best, carefully selected pieces of meat. And it is cooked, until fully relieved Of its juices that spill over. (…)
Bigos was kept in pots. It’s hard to describe in words its wonderful taste, color, and marvelous flavor.
No other dish was awarded unmistakable honor of being featured in our National Poem, “Thaddeus” by Adam Mickiewicz.
Understandably, at each Polish home bigos is served frequently. While at most homes women are in charge of cooking, men often take pride to make bigos. Maybe because it is believed to be even stronger in its properties than famous “Spanish fly”? Maybe our readers will share their stories on bigos with us?
We have our own secret recipes, and are skeptical about quality and taste of bigos served at other people’s parties. And when we say that “somebody made bigos” we mean this person screwed things up.
In old times bigos was stored in cold for weeks. In pre-McDonalds era bigos fed travelers on their lengthy trips. At end of a hunt bigos was a must. The most known varieties of bigos are called rascal’s, hunter’s and Lithuanian. Now we will learn from Alexandra (Ola) how to make an operatic version of bigos. The recipe is unique. So is its author.
Ola, mezzo-soprano, is sharing her busy time between forensic studies and operatic performances. Between these performances she always finds time to prepare bigos. She feels that meat is critical, since its variety in bigos provides her voice with its outstanding strength. It is also believed that cabbage is also important, since it allows Ola to reach high “C” note. “C” comes from “C”abbage, of course.
Let’s go back to our operatic bigos. Take a large pot, really large since bigos has a tendency to spill over. Add following to pot:
- meats, any amount, but typically around one pound each, of cubed pork and beef, floured, peppered and fried until golden. When available any game meat may also be added; - one pound of sliced Polish sausage; - three pounds of sour kraut (liquid discarded), briefly fried; - one head of white cabbage, shredded; - three sliced, golden fried onions; - two cups of water; - two small cans of tomato sauce; - salt, pepper, allspice, bay leaves.