Homemade burgers

Homemade Beef Burger

Beef burgers, a very popular BBQ fare, can be successfully made at home. The best burgers are made from freshly ground beef (electric mincer is of a great help here). They say the meat for burgers should be at around 20-40% fat to give moisture and flavour. So far I’ve tried meat at about 10% fat and 16% fat and to increase burgers’ juiciness and succulence I added some finely grated cooked potato, which worked perfectly. Of course the meat for burgers can be flavoured in many different ways, so feel free to experiment with different herbs, spices and other additions, like caramelised onion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg minced beef (from brisket, chuck or round)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 medium cooked and peeled potato, finely grated
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 0.5 tsp ground caraway
  • black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and form flat patties. I used 1/3 cup size measuring cup and by that measure I had 11 burgers. Fry/BBQ until juices run clear when pricked with a fork. It took me about 3-5 minutes on each side on the griddled pan on the hob.

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Braised onions

Braised onions

Braised onions

Those braised onions go well with grilled meats, as sandwich garnish or a pizza topping. Any onions can be used to make it.

Ingredients:

  • 400 g long shallots, peeled
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • pinch of ground caraway
  • ground black pepper

Method:

  • Cut shallots along side into strips. Heat the oil in a frying pan on a hight heat. Fry shallots until some have browned and caramelised. Lower the heat to low.
  • Sprinkle with ginger and salt. Mix and cover with lid. Braise the onions until they are soft. You may need to add some water to prevent them from burning.
  • Add white wine, sprinkle with thyme, mix and cover with lid. Simmer for another 7-10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with ground caraway and black pepper. Leave uncovered and allow for all liquid to evaporate, mix from time to time.
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Garlic yogurt

Garlic yoghurt

A very easy to make and versatile sauce that may be served with grilled meats, potatoes, veg fritters or as a dip.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • pinch of salt
  • 500 g thick natural yogurt
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 0.5 tsp ground caraway
  • pinch of chilli, pinch of ground ginger, 0.5 tsp ground black pepper

Mash garlic with salt into a paste. Add the rest of ingredients and mix well.

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Drop noodles soup

Drop noodles soup

A traditional Polish soup made with leftover broth. It’s light, but flavoursome. Great for spring and summer. To me it’s the taste of my childhood.

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre of broth + 1 litre of water
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into half-circles
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
  • 0.5 medium fennel, diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Herbs and spices: ground caraway, ground ginger, chilli, salt, lemon juice, thyme, black pepper

For the drop egg noodles:

  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 0.5 tbsp cold water
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • pinch of turmeric

Method:

  • Bring to boil broth and water,
  • Add potatoes, carrots, parsnip and 0.5 tsp of ground caraway.
  • Add diced onions, fennel, 0.5 tsp ground ginger and a pinch of chilli.
  • Add salt to taste. Cover with lid, bring to boil and cook on a low heat for about an hour. All vegetables should be cooked through.
  • In the meantime make the noodles: place all ingredients in a measuring jug, using a balloon whisk or a fork, whisk them into a smooth paste. It might take a while but the smoother the batter is the better. Set aside for 10-20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked.
  • Pour the batter in a steady stream, in circles, into the cooking soup. Or you may drop the batter in tablespoons, one at a time. The noodles will be cooked when they rise to the top.
  • Add chopped parsley, 1 tbs of lemon juice,
  • a pinch of thyme,
  • a pinch of ground caraway
  • and a pinch of black pepper. Bring to gentle boil.
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Pearl barley with swede

Barley and swede

I was looking for something else I could do with swede. It used to be a very popular vegetable in Poland, so I looked on the internet and found this web page with Polish regional foods – rustic, long forgotten recipes. I tweaked found recipe to my own taste and there we had very filling yet light risotto-like dish.

Inspiration: Polish Regional Cuisine

Ingredients:

  • 200 g pearl barley
  • 500 g swede, peeled and diced
  • 90 g carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 160 g becon, cubed
  • 120 g onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Herbs and spices: turmeric, ground caraway, ground ginger, salt, lemon juice, marjoram, black pepper

Method:

  • In a non-stick pot bring 1.5 litre of water to boil, add a pinch of turmeric,
  • 1 tbsp of butter, 1/2 tsp ground caraway.
  • Add in pearl barley and simmer on a medium to low heat under the lid for about 60-75 minutes, until the grain is cooked. Stir from time to time. You may need to add some more water if it dries out too quickly during cooking. After cooking pear barley should still have some liquid left, but it shouldn’t be soupy.
  • While pearl barley is cooking, brown onion and bacon on a table spoon of oil in a frying pan.
  • When pearl barley is soft add to it diced carrot, swede, 1/2 tsp ginger,
  • browned onion with bacon and salt to taste. Mix well, cover with the lid and cook until vegetables are soft, but not mushy. It should take about 20-25 minutes (keep adding water if necessary).
  • When vegetables are cooked add more salt if necessary,
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (or more so that the dish isn’t bland),
  • 1 tsp marjoram,
  • pinch of ground caraway,
  • black pepper to taste. Mix again and cook for further 5 minutes.
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Potato, swede and carrot pancakes

Potato, carrot and swede pancakes

One of the most popular dishes in Poland is potato pancakes. Usually they are served with soured cream. Since I had some left over swede I decided to experiment a little and added it in to the traditional potato pancake mix together with some carrots. Resulting potato pancakes were soft with a slight taste of swede.

Ingredients:

  • about 500 g potatoes, peeled
  • about 150 g carrot (1 large), peeled
  • about 350 g swede, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • oil for frying
  • Spices: ground ginger, salt, lemon juice, thyme, turmeric, ground caraway, black pepper

Method:

  • Grate potatoes on a spiky, sharp side of the box grater into a large mixing bowl. Please be careful as it is very easy to cut fingers.
  • Grate swede and carrots on the side with fine holes.
  • With a stick blender blend onion and garlic into a pulp. Add to the bowl with other grated veg.
  • Crack in the egg,
  • add 1/2 tsp of ground ginger,
  • salt to taste (it cannot be bland),
  • 1 tsp lemon juice,
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of plain flour,
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric,
  • 1/4 tsp thyme,
  • 1/2 tsp ground caraway,
  • black pepper to taste.
  • Mix everything well. Heat up the frying pan with a little oil, enough to prevent the batter from sticking. Spoon the mixture on to the pan, and flatten each pancake. Fry on a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side.
  • Serve while still hot with some soured cream or garlic yoghurt.
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Potato babka

Potato babka

Potato cake (potato babka) is a sovoury bake. It’s one of the Polish specialities that offer tasty combination of potatoes, bacon and onions. The cake can be a part of dinner served with some stew or sauerkraut salad. It can also be eaten on its own with some garlic yoghurt or sour cream. On the picture are re-heated pieces of the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1.8 kg potatoes, peeled; 1/3 of the potatoes (about 600 g) to be boiled in salted water and chilled. It can be done a day before.
  • 130 g bacon cubes
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • Herbs and spices: ground ginger, ground coriander, savory (optional), salt, basil, thyme, ground caraway, black pepper

Method:

  • In a frying pan heat up 1 tbsp of oil. Add chopped onions and fry them on a medium heat until they have softened. Add bacon and fry until bacon and onion are lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool (it doesn’t have to get cold completely).
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Take cooked potatoes and pass them through the potato ricer into a large mixing bowl. Grate raw potatoes on a box grater, on a star-shaped, spiky holes (be very careful not to grate your knuckles!).
  • Add eggs,
  • minced garlic, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp savory,
  • fried onions with bacon, 2 tsp salt. Mix everything thoroughly and add some more salt if necessary (it cannot be bland).
  • Add 1 tsp of basil,
  • 1/2 tsp of thyme,
  • 1 tsp ground caraway
  • 1 tsp black pepper (or to taste). Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Remove the mixture into a baking dish. It can be a glass or a metal roasting tin lined with baking paper or even a ring baking tin (for this amount not smaller than 26 cm diameter). I use 30 cm / 22 cm Pyrex dish. Bake for 90 minutes. The surface should be golden brown and the cake should be all set.
  • Eat straight from the oven or re-heat in the pan with a knob of butter.
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Warm lentil and roast veg salad

Warm lentil and parsnip salad

I love this salad of warm lentils and roasted veg in sweet and sour dressing. It’s great for lunch or supper.

Origin: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall “Veg every day”

Serves: 2

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into batons
  • 1 medium fennel, sliced into 1 cm slices
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin oliveoil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: cooking chorizo sausage, about 70 g, sliced (bacon or other sausage can also be used)
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can of puy lentils, 200-250 g drained
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • rocket leaves
  • Herbs and spices: ground black pepper, salt, thyme

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 0,5 tsp dijon mustard
  • 0,5 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

 Method:

  • Pre heat the oven to 200C.
  • Cook parsnips in salted boiling water for about 5 minutes, drain. Put parsnips and fennel in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with black pepper and salt. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of thyme. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and cooked through.
  • Fry chorizo in a frying pan until fat has released and the meat pieces are slightly browned. Add chopped shallots and fry until they have softened, stirring occasionally. You may add some oil for frying if there is not enough and shallots are too dry.
  • To fried onions and sausage add drained lentils. Salt to taste. Stir everything together and keep on the hob until lentils have heated through.
  • For the dressing, in a jug mince garlic with a pinch of salt to make a paste. Add dijon mustard, lemon juice, turmeric and honey. Mix all ingredients with a balloon whisk. While whisking vigorously add slowly virgin olive oil and mix until a smooth dressing emerges. Season with some black pepper.
  • To assemble the salad spread rocket leaves on a plate, put warm lentils on the leaves and top lentils with roasted veg. Drizzle the whole thing with the dressing. Enjoy while still warm.
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Roast turkey with chestnuts

Turkey with chestnuts

I love turkey from this recipe. The meat is tender, juicy and together with vegetables, very tasty. It’s also very simple and easy to make.

Origin: Anna Ciesielska “Philosophy of Flavour”

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg turkey breast or thigh with bone in, the breast can be cut into 3-4 smaller pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 200 g vacuum packed, whole chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp goose fat or melted butter
  • Spices: ground caraway, ground ginger, ground black pepper, salt, lemon juice, ground turmeric

Method:

  • Prepare a marinade for the meat by mixing together: 1 tsp ground caraway, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 2 tsp salt, 0,5 cup water, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp turmeric. Marinate the meat overnight in the fridge.
  • Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  • Colour each piece of turkey on a high heat in a frying pan with some oil. Remove to a casserole dish with lid. Pour the remaining marinade and goose fat over the meat. Sprinkle with grated carrots, chopped chestnuts and onion. Sprinkle with ground black pepper. Cover with lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours.
  • Serve with potatoes.
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Krupnik (traditional Polish soup)

Krupnik soup

This is my favourite winter soup. It can be made with broth (like this one here) or on a piece of meat. If I were making it with meat I would add about 300 g piece of beef to 2 litres of boiling water with thyme and turmeric at the beginning of cooking. More traditional version of the soup has potatoes, cabbage or seleriac in it.

Ingredients:

  • 75 g (3/4 cup) barley groats (“kasza jeczmienna” in Polish shops)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large leek, only the white part, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 litre of broth, heat up before adding to the soup
  • 2-3 dried mushrooms (any wild mushrooms, or porcini), crumbled
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Herbs and spices: thyme, turmeric, whole caraway seed, ground caraway seed, whole allspice, bay leaf, ground ginger, salt, lemon juice, marjoram, ground black pepper

Method

  • In 3-4 litre pot bring 1 litre of water to boil. Add a pinch of thyme and a pinch of turmeric.
  • Optional: if cooking with meat boil 2 litres of water, add spices and throw the beef in.
  • Add 1/2 tsp whole caraway seed,
  • barley groats, 2-3 whole allspice, 1 bay leaf. Cover with lid and cook on a low heat for about 1 hour. Stir from time to time.
  • Add chopped carrots and parsnip.
  • Optional: 3-4 diced potatoes and shredded cabbage.
  • Add chopped onion and leek, 1/2 tsp ginger and heated up broth.
  • Add crumbled mushrooms and salt to taste. Cover with lid and cook another hour on a low heat. Adjust salt after cooking.
  • Add chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp lemon juice,
  • 1 tsp marjoram,
  • 1/2 tsp ground caraway and 1 tbsp oil.
  • Finish off with ground black pepper to taste. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
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