TST, Vol. 9, Issue No. 26/2002

The Polish Swiecone Spread

Here are some of the traditional dishes associated with the festive Easter breakfast known as swiecone. Try preparing them for your family and friends this Easter and/or serving them at parish and club community functions. This festive meal breakfast always begins with the sharing of wedges of blessed Easter eggs. In a family setting, the host goes up to each table-mate offering him a hard-cooked egg quarter. At community functions, guests nmay be met at the entrance by the host with a platter full of egg wedges or the egg plate may simply be passed round from guest to guest.


WHITE EASTER SOUP (bialy barszcz wielkanocny): In pot combine 3 c water in which fresh or smoked kielbasa was cooked, 2 c water and 1 c ryemeal sour (zur). Bring to boil and simmer several min. Remove from heat. Add 1-2 buds crushed garlic. Separately, fork-blend 1 heaping T flour with 1 c sour cream until smooth. Add about 1 c hot soup to flour-cream mixture, a spoonful at a time, stirring vigorously. Stir cream mixture into soup in a thin stream and simmer several min longer. Just before serving stir a heaping T prepared horseradish into soup but do not cook. Into each soup bowl place a sliced hard-cooked egg, some diced cooked ham and diced ready-to-eat kielbasa and drench with hot soup. Provide rye bread on the side
(Optional: Cubed farmer cheese and cubed stale rye bread may also be included.)

HARD-COOKED EGGS (jaja na twardo) -- Provide a bowl or platter of whole, shelled hard-cooked eggs for guests to enjoy with salt & pepper, horseradish, cwikla or some sauce.

BEETS & HORSERADISH (cwikla) -- Scrub 4 med-size beets well but do not peel. Place on rack in 375F oven and bake 1 hr or until a fork goes in easily. Remove from oven. When cool, peel and grate coarsely. Sprinkle with 1-2 T distilled or cider vinegar, stir in 1 heaping T prepared horseradish or more and season to taste with a salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sugar. Mix well and refrigerate in sealed glass container several days before serving.

COLD COOKED BACON (boczek gotowany) -- In soup pot combine 2-3 lb very lean slab bacon, 1 portion soup greens, 1 bay leaf and 6 peppercorns. Add water to cover generously and cook covered on low heat 90-120 min or until a fork easily penetrates the rind. Remove bacon from pot and cook to room temp on rack. Refrigerate over night and slice when cold. Serve with ?wik_a, horseradish or brown mustard. Note: The degreased bacon stock makes an excellent soup base.

FRESH HOME-MADE KIELBASA (biala kielbasa domowa) -- Dice 9 lbs pork butts into 1/4 cubes. (Variation: Chop the pork fine or grind it coarsely instead of cubing.) Sprinkle 2 lb raw hamburger or ground round steak or ground veal with 5 - 6 T salt, 1.5 t ground black pepper, 1.5 t marjoram and 6 buds finely minced garlic, and work seasoning into ground meat. Then combine with diced, chopped or ground pork. Work by hand, gradually adding 1 c cold meat stock or water and continue working until liquid is completely absorbed. Stuff hog casings with mixture, twisting into 12-13 links and tying them with white twine. Cook by boiling in water about 45-60 min or baking in 375F oven. If baking, add water to pan reaching half way up the kielbasa and turn over after 30 min.

JELLIED PIG'S FEET (zimne nogi/studzienina) -- Singe 6 split pig's feet over flame to remove any remaining bristle. Wash well, 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 8 peppercorns and 1 bay leaf and cook on low heat 2 hr. Add 1 portion soup greens and cook another 2 hr or until meat falls away from bone. When meat is nearly ready, add 2-3 buds crushed garlic. Remove pork feet. Drain stock, discarding vegetables and spices. (Optional: The carrot may be saved, diced and added to the aspic for better color.) Remove the meat from bones, discard bones and dice meat. Transfer meat to glass or crockery pans and drench with stock. Refrigerate over night. Before serving scrape fat from top and discard. Cut aspic into squares. Provide a cruet of vinegar as a condiment. Serve with rye bread.

CRUMB-TOP MAZURKA CAKE (mazurek z kruszonka) -- Cut 1/2 lb butter into 3 c flour, work in 4 egg yolks and 1 scant c confectioner's sugar. Quickly work ingredients into a smooth dough, wrap in foil and refrigerate several hrs. Divide dough into 2 parts. Roll out one half and fit it into square or rectangular baking pan. Spread with powidla (Polish plum butter) or other thick jam. Coarsely grate the remaining dough, evenly covering the entire surface. To in pre-heated 390-400F oven about 20 min or until nice and golden. When cool, cut into squares.


EASTER RYEMEAL SOUP (zurek wielkanocny) -- In pot combine: 2 c degreased water in which fresh or smoked kielbasa was cooked, 1 - 2 rehydrated, cooked, diced dried mushroom and their water, 2 c plain water and 2 c or more liquid ryemeal sour (zur) -- depending on tartness desired. In it dissolve 1 heaping t preferably rye flour, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer several min. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram. Serve hot zur over sliced hard-cooked eggs and diced cooked meat (ham, sausage, roasts) in bowls. Serve with a side dish of hot mashed potatoes on the side, generously garnished with skwarki (crunchy fried salt-pork nuggets).

EASTER SAUCE (sos do swieconego) -- Fork-blend 1/2 c dairy sour cream with 1/2 c mayonnaise, add 1-2 chopped hard-cooked eggs and 1/2 - 3/4 c mixed finely chopped vegetables: dill pickle, chives, pickled mushroom, and radish. Stir in 1 heaping t to 1 T freshly grated horseradish or prepared horseradish and season to taste with salt, confectioner's sugar and lemon juice or vinegar. The perfect sauce for hard-cooked eggs, ham and other cold meats.

ROAST PORK LOIN (schab pieczony) -- Mince and mash 2-3 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 in loin in roaster fat side up on rack and sprinkle with caraway seeds, pepper and marjoram. Roast uncovered at 450? 15 min, then reduce heat to 350?. 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 cold.

POLISH HAM (polska szynka) -- Krakus brand and other Polish canned hams are ideal for Easter brunch. Simply slice and serve. Other types of Polish hams -- fresh, smoked, baked, air-cured, etc. -- are available at Polish delis and meat markets.

FRESH BOILED KIELBASA (biala kielbasa gotowana) -- Place 3 lbs fresh kielbasa in pot of cold water which should cover it by at least 1. Add 1 bay leaf and 1 large quartered onion and cook on low to a gentle boil. Simmer on low covered 30-40 min. Let stand in hot liquid another 10 min before serving. Pork must be fully cooked so make sure it is no longer pink inside. If so, cook a while longer. Serve with cwikla (below).

BEETROOT AND HORSERADISH SALAD (cwikla z chrzanem) -- Scrub 4 beets but do not remove skin. Place in pre-heated 350? oven and bake 90-120 min. or until a fork goes in easily. Plunge into cold water and, when cool enough to handle, peel. Dice, stir in 2-3 heaping T prepared horseradish and pack into jar. In saucepan combine 2/3 c cider vinegar, 2/3 c water, 1 t salt, 2 heaping T sugar and 1 t dill seed. Season with several twists of the peppermill and a pinch of ground bayleaf. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 min. Pour strained, slightly cooled marinade over beet mixture, seal and refrigerate overnight.

EGGS IN SOUR-CREAM SAUCE (jaja na twardo w smietanie) -- Fork-blend 1 c sour cream (or 1/2 c sour cream and 1/2 c plain low-fat yogurt). Season to taste with salt, white pepper, about 1 T vinegar and 1 t sugar. Pour over eggs.

BEAN SALAD (salatka fasolowa) -- In salad bowl combine 5 c drained canned beans. (Feel free to use any combination of navy, great northern, pea-beans, lima, kidney, pinto beans, etc.) Add 1 peeled diced cucumber, 3-4 large chopped dill pickles, 1 bunch chopped green onions, 1 diced green bell pepper and 2 buds crushed garlic. Toss gently. Drizzle with juice of 1 large lemon and 4 T salad oil. Season with salt, pepper and a little sugar and vinegar for a tangy, sweet & sour flavor. Lace with 1-2 T mayonnaise.

LEMON BABKA (babka cytrynowa) -- Mash 1 cake yeast with 1 c sugar. Add 3 whole eggs, beaten, 3/4 c butter dissolved in 1 c very warm milk, 3 c flour, grated rind of 1 lemon, 1 t vanilla extract and 1/2 c raisins. Mix well first with wooden spoon and then by hand to blend ingredients, but do not knead. Fill well-greased babka, Bundt, brioche or other tube-type pan
with dough no more than 1/3 full. Cover with cloth and let stand in war m place until doubled in bulk (about 2 hrs). Bake about 60 min in med hot (375?) oven. It is fully baked when a wooden pick comes out clean. Glaze with lemon icing (mix together 2/3 c confectioner's sugar, juice of 1 lemon and 1 T or so boiling water).


HERRING IN HORSERADISH MAYONNAISE (sledzie w mayonezie chrzanowym) -- Prepare salt herring from scratch (see above), or use store-bought marinated herring. If using marinated herring out of a jar, drain and discard onions and spices. Plunge 3 c herring, cut into 1 - 1-1/2 pieces, into cold water briefly and allow to drip dry in sieve. Line serving dish with Boston lettuce and arrange herring thereon. Fork-blend 1/2 c mayonnaise, 1/4 c sour cream, 1 heaping T prepared non-creamed horseradish (m/l to taste), 1 t mustard, juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 t confectioner's sugar. Pour over herring. Chill at least 1 hr before serving. Optional: Decorate herring with hard-cooked-egg slices and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.
EGGS IN CAPER SAUCE (jaja w sosie kaparowym): Fork-blend 1/2 c mayonnaise with 1/4 c sour cream. Season with salt, pepper and 1/4 t. sugar. Add 5-6 chopped gherkins, (or 2 dill pickles), 1 heaping T drained capers and 1 t caper liquid. Add 1-2 finely diced dill pickles and/or several gherkins. Salt & pepper to taste. Place 12 shelled, hard-cooked-egg halves cut-side-down on lettuce-lined platter and drench with sauce. Note: If capers are on the large side, they may be chopped.

DEVILED EGGS WITH KIELBASA (jaja nadziewane kielbasa) -- Cut 6 shelled, hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise and gently remove yolks. Set aside whites. Grind or process cooked yolks with 1/4 lb skinned smoked Polish sausage and 1 small quartered onion. To mixture add 1-2 t brown mustard, 1/4 t paprika and 2-3 T mayonnaise or sour cream (or a little of each). Mix well and salt & pepper to taste. Stuff egg whites with mixture, rounding off the tops with a spoon. Place a thin radish slice on each egg and top with a caper.

PICKLED MUSHROOMS (grzybki marynowane) -- Small fresh mushrooms of roughly equal size are best. Wash well and plunge into a large kettle of boiling salted water 2 lbs fresh msuhrooms. Cover and cook 15 min. In separate pot combine 1-1/2 c 6% distilled vinegar, wine vinegar or cider vinegar, 1-1/4 c water, 1/2 t salt, 2 level T sugar, 1 crumbled bay leaf, 3 grains allspice, 10 peppercorns and (optional) 1 pod cayenne pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 min. With slotted spoon transfer mushrooms to jars. Pour room-temp marinade over mushrooms to cover, seal and refrigerate overnight before serving.

LEEK & CHEESE SALAD (salatka z porow z serem) -- Cut off and discard green tops of 4-6 leeks. Trim off root whiskers (if still attached), wash and slice into thin rounds. Scald with boiling water and drain well. Add 3/4 c diced yellow cheese of choice (podlaski, tylzycki, muenster, gouda, etc.) and 1 T finely chopped chives. Drizzle with juice of 1/2 a lemon and sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar. Lace with mayonnaise to coat ingredients.

BEEF TENDERLOIN, COLD (poledwica wolowa na zimno) -- Mince and mash 2-3 buds garlic with 1/2 t salt. Trim a 1-1/2 lb beef tenderloin of surface fat and connecting tissue and rub all over with garlic paste. Heat 4 T lard in heavy skillet. Through sieve dust meat on all sides with flour, shaking off excess. Brown tenderloin on all sides to form a nice crust that will seal in the juices. If you like your beef very rare, that is all the cooking you'll need. If you prefer it better done, simmer in covered skillet over low heat another 3 - 5 min. When cooled to room temp, refrigerate until ready to use. To serve, slice thin and arrange on platter.

PORK LOIN STUFFED WITH PRUNES (schab nadziewany sliwkami) -- Soak 4 oz pitted prunes in warm water to cover. With a narrow pointed knife make an incision all the way through a 3 to 3-1/2 lb fresh boneless pork loin. Use a wooden rod or baster to enlarge opening. Drain the prunes and force them into the tunnel. Rub meat all over with salt, pepper and marjoram. Brown meat in hot lard on all sides in large skillet, transfer to roasting pan, add 2 sliced onions and 1/2 c water and roast covered in 360F oven 60 min. Turn meat over, drizzle with 1 jigger dry red wine and bake another 30 min. When cool. refrigerate. Slice when cold. Serve cold or hot (reheat sliced loin in pan drippings).

EASTER CHEESE DESSERT (pascha) -- Sieve 2-1/4 lbs full-cream (not low-fat!) farmer cheese. Separately cream 5 egg yolks with 1-1/4 c sugar, stir in 1 c coffee cream. Stirring constantly, heat mixture nearly to boiling point, but do not boil. Remove from flame, stir in the cheese, 1/4 lb unsalted butter, 3/4 c plumped raisins, 1/2 c chopped blanched almonds, 1 t grated orange zest and 1 t vanilla. Mix ingredients well and place mixture on cheese cloth. Tie cheese mixture in cheese cloth into a ball and hang it up to drip-dry, twisting ball to extract moisture. When dripping stops, transfer cheese-cloth-covered cheese ball in sieve. Cover with plate and weight down with 1 qt jar filled with water. Refrigerate overnight. Next day, turn out onto serving plate. Decorate top with whole almonds, walnut meats, raisins and strips of candied orange rind. Optional: Top may also be garnished with grated chocolate.

ALMOND MAZURKA (mazurek migdalowy) -- Cream 14 oz (3-1/2 sticks) unsalted 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 (the leftover cooked whites can be diced and added to some salads), 1 c fine 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 pre-heated 375F 40 min or until a nice golden hue is obtained. When cooled slightly, glaze top and sides with home-made or store-bought chocolate or vanilla icing. Use slivered almonds to decorate the top: spell out ALLELUJA, create pussy willows, a decorative border, etc.
Robert Strybel
ul. Kaniowska 24, 01-529
Warsaw, Poland
* How Polonia in US celebrates Easter
* The Polish Chef
* The Polish swiecone spread
* Easy swiecone for beginners

TST, Vol. 9, Issue No. 26/2002

The Summit Times

Copyright 2002 by Andrzej M. Salski