Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
12 Christmas Eve dishes
The tradition in Poland says that during Christmas Eve dinner (that is called Wigilia) the host must serve 12 dishes. The meals differ depending on the region of Poland or family tradition but many of them are just traditional Polish cuisine dishes. They must, however, not contain meat. It is typical for Christmas Eve dinner to eat a lot of cabbage, mushrooms or poppy dishes. Fish is allowed as Lenten fare. Various soups and sweets are also a must on Polish table.
Here you will find proposals of some of the dishes – not only for the next Christmas Eve but also for family dinners. Some of them might be also prepared with meat. These are not full recipes but only ideas on how to make your dinner truly Polish.
Red borscht – the soup is made of beetroots and is one of the most popular Eastern European dishes. One can east it with vegetables (so called ‘Ukrainian borscht) or simply with potatoes. During Wigilia the Poles eat borscht with small dumplings (‘uszka’) filled with mushrooms.
Mushroom soup – it tastes the best when made of wild mushrooms (especially it is prepared this way for Christmas). Very often one of the ingredients is a kind of pasta.
Almond soup – sweet soup made of almonds and milk. It is very easy to prepare it as it just requires boiling almonds (peeled and chopped) in milk.
DISHES WITH CABBAGE AND MUSHROOMS:
Golabki (stuffed cabbage) – barley mixed with mushrooms rolled in cabbage leaves. Afterwards ‘golabki’ are baked in the oven and might be served with tomato sauce.
‘Pierogi’ with cabbage and mushrooms – dumplings are filled with cabbage and mushrooms. They can be boiled but taste even nicer when fried on a pan afterwards.
Krokiety (stuffed crepes) – chopped cabbage with mushrooms rolled in crepes. Afterwards you must soak them in egg, cover with crumbs and fry on the pan.
Sauerkraut with beans – cooked sauerkraut can be mixed with beans and served during Christmas Eve. Tastes even better when prepared some days in advance.
Kulebiak – cabbage with mushrooms rolled in yeast dough. Afterwards you must bake it in the oven. Kulebiak might be served with mushroom sauce or with red borscht as a drink.
DISHES WITH POPPY:
Dumplings with poppy – dumplings (usually sort of squared pasta) are boiled and mixed with cooked poppy. The dish is served with sugar.
Kutia – one of Christmas most traditional Eastern European dishes. It consists of various cereals and sweetmeats with poppy and a little bit of honey. The most popular main ingredient is wheat or barley.
Makowki – Christmas Eve dish which is especially popular in Silesia region. It is made of poppy cooked with sweetmeats, honey and milk. Afterwards poppy is arranged in a deep dish in turns with chala (sweet white bread). Makowki must be kept in a fridge for a while before serving.
DISHES WITH FISH:
Fried carp – fish is a highlight of Christmas Eve dinner. In most of Polish homes there is carp served for Wigilia. The most common way is carp soaked in egg and covered with crumbs. Afterwards it is fried on a pan in hot oil.
Carp in jelly – the fish is cooked with some additions (like spices or various vegetables) and aspic. Afterwards it is put into smaller (dishes) and fridge to give it some time to jell. It is very common in Poland to serve it with vinegar.