Traditional Swiecone - Polish Easter Brunch
Traditional Swiecone (Polish Easter brunch)
• Fri, Apr 15, 2011
Whether you intend to gather for your annual family Œwiêcone, held after Mass on Easter morning, or a planning a community Œwiêconka at your parish hall or PolAm clubrooms, here are some traditional Easter treats worth considering. Some have been simplified for the benefit of today’s convenience-minded Polish Americans. The festivities begin with grace and the sharing of blessed Easter eggs.
EASTER RYEMEAL SOUP (¿urek wielkanocny): In pot combine 2 c diced smoked kielbasa, ham and/or roast pork, 6-7 c water, 1 heaping T quick-cooking rolled oats, 1 quartered onion and several peppercorns. Simmer on low under cover 20 min.. Stir in 2 c liquid ryemeal sour* (¿ur - available at Polish delis), and 1/4 of a mushroom bouillon cube. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 min. Thicken with 1 or more T flour if desired and simmer several more mins. Switch off heat, add 2 buds crushed garlic, 1 T prepared horseradish and 1 T marjoram. Stir and salt & pepper to taste. Serve over hard-boiled eggs in bowls.
* If liquid ryemeal sour is not available, add 2 c water mixed with 3-4 T vinegar.
WHITE EASTER BARSZCZ (bialy barszcz wielkanocny): Prepare like ryemeal soup (above) but omit marjoram, mushroom cube and flour. Remove from flame, Fork-blend 1 heaping T flour with 1 c sour cream until smooth. Add 1 c hot stock 1 T at a time to sour-cream mixture, fork-blending or whisking until lump-free and stir mixture into soup pot. Return to heat and simmer 2-3 min just below boiling point. Provide cubed farmer cheese, dried rye-bread cubes and extra horseradish to be added by guests as per their personal preference.
EGGS IN SAUCE (jaja w sosie): Arrange shelled, whole or halved hard-cooked eggs on lettuce-lined platter and dress with a dollop of any of the following sauces:
• Sourcream sauce (sos œmietanowy): Fork-blend 3/4 c sour cream, 1/4 c mayonnaise, 1 t sharp brown mustard and 2 t white vinegar;
• Mayonnaise sauce (sos majonezowy): Fork-blend 3/4 c mayonnaise, 1/4 c sour cream, 1 t sharp brown mustard and 2 t lemon juice;
• Mayo-sourcream sauce (sos œmietanowo-majonezowy): Fork-blend 1/2 c sour cream, 1/2 c mayonnaise, 1 t sharp brown mustard and 1 t lemon juice;
• Mustard sauce: Add 1 heaping T Polish-style Sarepska or German-style Düsseldorfer mustard to mayo-sourcream sauce (above);
• Horseradish sauce (sos chrzanowy): Add 1 heaping T prepared horseradish or more to sourcream sauce (above).
• Spring sauce (sos wiosenny): Combine 3/4 c mixed chopped greens (chives, green onion, parsley, dill) and 5-6 coarsely grated radishes with 1 c sourcream or mayonnaise sauce (above).
• Tartar sauce (sos tatarski): Combine 1 grated onion, 2 chopped dill pickles, 5-6 pickled mushrooms and 1 t lemon juice with 1 c mayonnaise sauce (above); add several dashes Tabasco and salt & pepper to taste.
• Prepared horseradish (chrzan tarty): Top each egg with a tiny dollop of prepared horseradish.
• Æwik³a (beet & horseradish): Top each egg with a tiny dollop of prepared beet-horseradish relish.
HOT STUFFED EGGS IN SHELLS (jaja faszerowane w skorupkach): Allow 1-2 eggs per guest. Hold each cold, hard-cooked egg firmly against cutting-board and tap it lengthwise with a heavy, sharp, thin-bladed, non-serrated-edged knife. With swift cutting motion cut through to cutting-board, shell and all. With small spoon gently scoop out yolk and white and set aside, taking care not to break the shell. Carefully remove and discard loose, jagged shell fragments that adhere to eggs or shell rim. Set shells aside.
Simmer 2 finely minced onions in 2 T butter until tender and golden. Grind or chop eggs fine and combine with onion. Add 2 heaping T finely chopped fresh dill, 1 heaping T finely chopped chives and salt & pepper to taste. Mix ingredients well. Fill shells with mixture pressing it down very gently so as not to damage them. Sprinkle tops generously with bread crumbs, pressing them in gently. To serve, fry stuffed eggs, open-side down in 2 T butter or margarine until a golden-brown crust forms on the bottom and top of shells are hot to the touch. Serve immediately.
EGG SALAD (sa³atka jajeczna): If you are not planning to serve any of the egg dishes listed above, this egg salad may be an option. In salad bowl combine 3 med cold cooked potatoes, diced, 5-6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped, 4 -5 green onions finely chopped, 6 radishes coarsely grated or finely chopped, and 1-2 T finely chopped parsley and/or dill. Salt & pepper to taste. Toss with enough mayonnaise sauce (above) to coat ingredients.
VEGETABLE SALAD (sa³atka jarzynowa): In salad bowl combine 1 qt cold, cooked, diced potatoes, 2 cans drained peas & carrots, 2 cans drained navy beans, 4 diced dill pickles, 1 bunch chopped green onions, 1 bunch diced radishes, 2 - 3 peeled, cored, diced apples and 4 - 6 diced hard-cooked eggs. Sprinkle with juice of 1/2 a lemon. Toss ingredients gently, season with salt & pepper, garnish with 3 T chopped fresh parsley and lace with just enough mayonnaise to thinly coat ingredients.
BEETROOT-HORSERADISH RELISH (æwik³a z chrzanem): Scrub 4 large beets well but do not peel. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven about 1 hr or until fork-tender. Peel under cold running water. When cool enough to handle, cut each beet into 4 pieces and slice on hand-held grater or dice. Toss with as many T prepared horseradish as needed to get the potency desired. Taste mixture after each addition. Sprinkle with 2 t salt, sweeten to taste with a few T sugar, add 2 t bruised caraway and 1/2 c wine vinegar or cider vinegar or to taste. Transfer to covered crockery or glass bowl and refrigerate up to a week before serving.
COLD-MEAT PLATTER (pó³misek zimnych miês): On lettuce-lined round, oval or rectangular serving platters artistically arrange any of the following sliced cold meats (home-made or store bought): boiled ham, baked ham, smoked pork loin (Canadian bacon,) kabanas (thin dry sausage), myœliwska, (hunter’s sausage), krakowska (Kraków sausage), smoked kie³basa, baked fresh kie³basa, cold sliced roasts (pork loin, veal, beef, turkey), boiled slab bacon, boiled beef tongue and/or smoked turkey breast. Decorate platters with parsley sprigs, radish roses, pickled mushrooms and/or spiced plums. An Easter egg may be placed in a bed of greenery at the center or at one end of the platter.
PLUM-HORSERADISH SAUCE (sos powid³owo-chrzanowy): Fork-blend a 300-gram (app. 10 oz) jar of £owicz brand Powid³a (plum butter imported from Poland) with juice of half a small lemon and a heaping T prepared horseradish, more or less, depending on potency desired. A tangy accompaniment to ham and the other cold meats mentioned above.
CRANBERRY-HORSERADISH SAUCE (sos ¿urawinowo-chrzanowy): Fork-blend a 300-gram (app. 10 oz) jar of £owicz brand ¯urawina (cranberry sauce imported from Poland) with juice of half a small lemon and a heaping T prepared horseradish – more or less depending on potency desired.
JELLIED PIGS FEET (galareta z nó¿ek, studzienina): Singe 4 split pig’s feet and 2 pork hocks over flame to remove any remaining bristle. Scrub well with sharp brush, rinse, place in pot, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Simmer several min, then pour off water. Add fresh cold water to cover (2 1/2 qts, more or less) and 1 T salt, bring to boil once again and reduce heat. Skim off any scum that forms at top. Add 6 peppercorns, 3 grains allspice and 1 bay leaf and cook on low heat 2 hr. Add 1 portion soup greens (2 carrots, slice of celeriac, 1 leek, 1 small onion and 1 parsley root) and cook another 2 hr or until meat falls away from bone. Add 2-3 buds crushed garlic.
Strain stock, discarding vegetables and spices, but reserving carrot. Remove the meat from bones, discard bones and dice meat. Transfer meat to glass or crockery pans, add the sliced or diced carrot and drench with stock. Chill in fridge until set. Before turning out, scrape off and discard the congealed fat at top of containers and cut aspic into serving squares. On the side, provide cruets of vinegar, lemon juice, a 50-50 vinegar-lemon juice mixture or prepared horseradish.
ROAST PORK LOIN (schab pieczony): Mince and mash 2 cloves garlic into a paste with 1 t salt and rub into 3 lb boneless pork loin. Place in roasting pan, cover and let stand at room temp 2 hrs. Remove loin, dust with flour (through sieve) and brown in hot fat on all sides to seal in juices. Place loin in roaster fat side up on rack and sprinkle with caraway seeds, pepper and marjoram. Roast uncovered at 450 degree 15 min, then reduce heat to 350 degree. Add 1 c water to pan and baste occasionally with drippings that form. Roast about 90 min or until liquid that comes out of meat when pricked is white, not pinkish. Remove from oven and cool to room temp. Refrigerate over night and slice when cold. Serve cold on your cold-meat platter or as a hot entrée, using pan drippings as a gravy base
HOME-MADE KIE£BASA (kie³basa domowa): Coarsely grind 4.5 lbs pork butts and combine with 1 lb ground raw hamburger. Re-grind 2/3 of the meat and combine with the once-ground mixture. Sprinkle with 3 T salt and 1 t pepper, 3 buds crushed garlic and (optional) add 1 heaping T marjoram. Work by hand, gradually adding 1/2 – 1 c cold water and continue working until it is completely absorbed. Refrigerate over night covered in a thin layer. Next day, rinse hog casings well and stuff with meat mixture, either by hand or using meat-grinder with sausage attachment. Twist sausage into 12” links and tie them with white twine. Hang up in cool place to air dry several hrs or overnight. To cook, (boil or bake), see below.
FRESH BOILED KIE£BASA (bia³a kie³basa gotowana): Puncture fresh kie³basa at intervals with sharp skewer or tooth pick to prevent bursting when it cooks. Place kie³basa in pot of cold water which should cover it by at least 1”. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer under cover at a gentle boil. Add 1 bay leaf and 1 large quartered onion and cook 30-40 min or until no longer pink on the inside. Let stand in hot liquid another 10 min before serving.
FRIED FRESH KIE£BASA (bia³a kie³basa podsma¿ana): After the kie³basa, cooked as in preceding recipe, has cooled, refrigerate it overnight. Next day fry in a little bacon fat, or oil on both sides until fully heated through and serve with horseradish or æwik³a.
BEER-BAKED KIE£BASA (bia³a kie³basa pieczona w piwie): Arrange fresh kie³basa in a single layer in uncovered baking pan. Drench with a 12 oz bottle of beer and add enough water to just cover. Bake in 350 degree oven. Turn sausage over when half the liquid has evaporated. Scatter wafer-thin onion slices over top and sprinkle with caraway seed. It is ready when all water evaporates and sausage begins to sizzle.
KIE£BASA & SAUERKRAUT (kie³basa z kapust¹): Drain 2 qts sauerkraut. If very sour, rinse in cold water and drain again. Press out moisture in colander, chop coarsely, place in pot, scald with boiling water to cover, add 1 bay leaf and cook uncovered 45 min. Drain and transfer to roaster. Intersperse about 3 lbs cooked fresh or smoked kie³basa cut into 3” pieces, sprinkle with 1 t caraway seed and bake in 350 degree oven 1 hr or longer. After switching off heat, let stand at least 20 min before serving. It’ll be even better reheated the next day!
SMALL EASTER BABKA (ma³a babka wielkanocna): Dissolve 1 packet active dry yeast in 1/2 c warm coffee cream. Stir in 2-1/2 T sugar and 1 cup flour, mix well and let stand in warm place until doubled. Stir in 3 T sugar, 1 c flour, 3 beaten eggs, 1 t lemon zest, 1/2 t vanilla extract and 1 T melted butter. Work ingredients into a dough by hand and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 min) or have a dough-hook mixer do the job. Work 1/4 c raisins into dough. Fill greased, floured, fluted babka, brioche or Bundt pan, which should be no more than 1/3 full, cover with tea towel and let stand in warm place until doubled in bulk. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven about 40 min. When cool remove from pan and glaze with icing made by fork-blending 1/2 confectioner’s sugar with 1 T lemon juice or Amaretto (almond liqueur).
BREAD-MACHINE BABKA (babka maszynowa): Combine 2 large room-temp eggs with 2/3 c warm milk at bottom of bread pan. Add 3 c white bread flour, 1-1/2 t salt, 2-1/2 T sugar, 1 t lemon zest and 1 t orange zest. Tap on counter top to settle. Make well at center and add 1-1/2 t bread-machine yeast. Program machine for light setting. Add 1/4 c chopped almonds and 1/2 c golden raisins at knead cycle.
POLISH WHEEL CAKE (ko³acz): Prepare dough as in Easter babka recipe (above). When dough rises, roll out on floured board with rolling pin into two 1” thick circles. Transfer to 2 round greased and flour-dusted cake pans, cover with clean dish towel and let rise again in warm place. With a saucer make a depression at the center of each dough round and fill it with Polish plum butter (powid³a). Other thick jams can also be used. Brush cakes with egg wash (1 raw egg beaten with 1 jigger water) and bake in preheated 350 degree F oven about 55 min or until wooden pick comes out clean.
EASTER CHEESE DESSERT (pascha/paska): Grind or force through sieve twice 2-1/4 lbs farmer cheese. Separately beat 5 egg yolks with 1 heaped c sugar until fluffy. Stir in 1 c heavy (at least 30%) cream) and beat well. Place over double boiler, mixing constantly until mixture thickens, but not too long or it may curdle. Remove from heat and stir in 2 sticks soft butter and 1 t vanilla extract, stirring until absorbed. Add the ground or sieved farmer cheese, 1 c chopped almonds and 1 c raisins, chopped dates and candied orange rind. Mix well and transfer mixture to cheesecloth-lined colander. Twist into a ball, cover with a dish weighted down with a water-filled qt jar and refrigerate overnight over a bowl or pot to catch the drippings. Next day remove from cheesecloth, turn out on serving dish and decorate with well-drained cherries from cherry preserves. Or, instead of cherries, garnish with grated bitter-sweet chocolate.
CHEESECAKE (sernik): Sift 1 1/2 c flour onto board and cut in 1/4 lb cold butter. Beat 4 eggs with 4 T confectioner’s sugar and add to flour mixture. Sprinkle with 2 T milk and 2 t baking powder, quickly work ingredients into a dough and chill in fridge 30 min. Meanwhile grind or process 1 1/2 lbs farmer cheese and blend together with 2 med cold, well-mashed potatoes. Cream 3/4 c butter with 1 c confectioner’s sugar. Add 1 t vanilla extract, continue beating, gradually adding 5 egg yolks and cheese mixture a little at a time. When fully blended, sprinkle with 3 T potato starch, add 1 c plumped raisins and 2 T finely chopped candied orange rind. Mix ingredients and fold in 3 stiffly beaten egg whites. Roll out 2/3 of the dough 1/4” thick to fit lightly greased pan. Top with cheese filling and smooth the top. Roll remaining dough into pencil-thick strands and arrange latticework on top of cheese. Brush top with beaten egg and bake in preheated 350 degree oven about 50 min.
ALMOND MAZURKA (mazurek migda³owy): Cream 1-3/4 c butter with 2/3 c confectioner’s sugar until fluffy. Gradually stir in 2-1/3 c flour, 4 cold, ground hard-cooked egg yolks (add the leftover chopped whites to one of the above salads), 1 c finely chopped, blanched almonds, 1 beaten raw egg and 1/8 t salt. Work ingredients into a dough by hand and chill in refrigerator 30 min. On lightly floured board roll out into a rectangle no more than 3/4" high. Use flat of knife to even out the sides. Transfer to lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in preheated 375 degree oven 40-45 min. or until a nice golden hue is obtained. When cooled, glaze top and sides with home-made or store-bought chocolate or vanilla icing. If desired, write the word “Alleluja!” on the top with icing of a contrasting color and decorate top with almond slices.
POLISH EGG CORDIAL (likier jajeczny/ajerkoniak): Beat 5 egg yolks with 1 c sugar and 1 t vanilla extract until fluffy. Gradually add 1 c cold milk in a thin stream, beating constantly, and finally add 1 c 190 proof grain alcohol* in a thin stream, increasing mixer speed to high. After alcohol has been absorbed, beat another min longer. Transfer to sterilized glass bottle or carafe, seal and refrigerate several days before serving.
* If 190% grain alcohol is not available, use 2 c 100 proof vodka, but the result won’t be quite as good!