Christmas recipes

  • beet soup
  • stuffed carp in gelatin
  • fried Christmas carp
  • dumplings with mushroom
  • dumplings with dried prunes
  • bigos (Hunter’s Stew)
  • poppy seed roll
  • makowki ( Polish poppy seed bread pudding)



The soup is made with a beet sour (kwas) that must ferment for at least three days before using.


Beet Sour (kwas):

  • 3 1/2 pounds beets, peeled, rinsed and sliced
  • Boiled water cooled to lukewarm
  • 1 slice rye bread with crust

Beet Soup:

  • 1 pound beets, peeled, rinsed and sliced
  • 1/2 pound peeled, rinsed and sliced soup vegetables (carrot, parsnip, celery root, leek)
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove mashed with a little salt
  • 2 cups beet sour
  • 1/4 cup strained liquid from soaking a dried mushroom
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley


  1. To make the beet sour (kwas): Place 3 1/2 pounds prepared beets in a large crock or ceramic bowl. Cover with pre-boiled, lukewarm water. Add the rye bread slice, pushing it under the water. Cover the crock or bowl with cheesecloth and let stand at room temperature for three days. Then strain through cheesecloth, pour into a glass jar and seal it. Store in the fridge. You may eat the strained beets or discard them.
  2. To make the beet soup: Place prepared vegetables in a large stockpot. Add 6 cups cold water and 1 teaspoon butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Strain, pressing on vegetables to extract every last ounce of goodness.
  3. Return the strained liquid to the pot and add garlic, beet sour, mushroom soaking liquid, salt and pepper, and sugar to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Before serving, stir in remaining 1 teaspoon butter and chopped parsley. Ladle into hot bowls and serve with “uszka” (a kind of dumplings filled with mushroom) – see picture above.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • 3 tablespoons water, or more as necessary


  1. Place flour in a stand mixer or large bowl. Blend in the salt and add the remaining ingredients. Knead until a smooth dough forms, adding additional water, if necessary. Remove dough from bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.
  2. Put a large pot of broth or salted water on to boil. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough very thinly. Cut into 2-inch squares. Place a spoonful of filling on each square. Moisten two edges of the dough with water and fold in half to form a triangle, pressing out any air. Dab one of the points with water and lap the other point over and press them together. It will look a little like a tri-cornered hat. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Note: The dough can be cut into circles and folded as for pierogi.
  4. Drop uszka into boiling broth or water and cook 10 minutes or until tender when tested.


Carp is a popular Christmas Eve dish in Poland and can be prepared in countless ways.

Stuffed Carp in Gelatin




  • 1 Carp (about 1 kg)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 celery root
  • salt, pepper, allspice
  • 1 stale bread bun
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of almond flakes
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of raisins
  • 2 teaspoons of gelatin
  • 1 cup of milk to soak the fish


Dress the carp by scaling it, cutting off the head, fins, and tail, gutting it (without cutting through its stomach), and washing it. Cut the fish steak-wise (that is,perpendicular to the spine). Soak the chopped fish in milk for at least one hour, then rinse. Wash, peel, and combine half an onion, the carrot, and celery in a pan of water. Add salt, pepper, and allspice, and bring to a boil. Add the head and the tail of the fish, and cook for an hour over a small flame. Soak the bun in milk, then drain it. Chop the the rest of the onion. Beat the egg whites to a foam. Pick the meat off the head and tail and grate it with the bun and onion; add the egg yolk, almonds, raisins, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg foam. Stir thoroughly. Fill the fish pieces with the filling, carefully place them on vegetables, and cook for 30 minutes over a small fire (the broth should cover the fish). Soak the gelatin in 1/4 cup of cold water. Take out the fish pieces and arrange them in a shallow bowl. Melt the gelatin by heating it. Strain the broth, add lemon juice and gelatin, and stir. Cover the fish with the solidifying gelatin, and set aside for two hours to cool it.

Fried Christmas Carp


  • 300g carp
  • 10g salt
  • 1g white pepper
  • 20g butter
  • 5g garlic
  • 100g vegetable oil

Debone, remove skin and clean the carp thoroughly. Salt and pepper the fillets, then brush with melted butter and mashed garlic.  Fry slowly in hot olive oil until done.


Dumplings with mushroom



Dough – ingredients

  •  flour, sifted 350 grams
  •  1 egg
  • water 150ml
  • a pinch of salt


Sieve flour add an egg. Form stiff dough gradually adding water. A ready made dough divide into parts and cover with a wet cloth. Roll one part of dough after another on a floured board. Cut into circles with a glass or doughnut cutter. Place filling in each circle .Fold  the cicle in half. Seal with your fingers.Drop into simmering water until each dumpling floats .Boiled pierogi .Drain off pierogi  with a slotted spoon .Serve with butter, crumble bacon with different sauce.Flavour with salt and pepper. You can add some bullion.

Stuffing – ingredients

  • dried boletus mushrooms 80-100 gr
  • onions 80gr
  • fat
  • folk
  • crumbs
  • salt and pepper to flavour


Soak mushrooms into water and boil then mince with fried onion. Add crumbs, yolk. Mix together. Place filling in each circle .Fold  the cicle in half. Seal with your fingers. Drop into simmering water until each dumpling floats. Boiled pierogi. Drain off pierogi with a slotted spoon. Serve with borscht or clear soup.

Dumplings with dried prunes

Dough – ingredients

  • 500 grams of sifted flour
  •  1 egg (optionally, it makes the dough harder)
  • 250 ml of water or milk
  • 1 spoon of butter
  • a pinch of salt


dried prunes and sugar – 1 prune for 1 dumpling

All products should be at room temperature. Sift the flour on a pastry board, make the hole in the middle (optionally add the egg) and pour the melted butter. Slowly pour a glass of warm milk or water (as much as flour will absorb). Horseplay cake first with knife, then knead with hands  for about 15-20 min, until a homogeneous mass. Well-kneaded dough should be elastic and smooth, and after the cut holes filled with air should be seen. Leave it for 30 min, covering the bowl. Then divide the dough into two or three portions and roll out to a thickness of 2 mm. Cut discs with a glass, put a prune with a hint of sugar at it, cover it with a half of the “disc” and carefully clump edges, preferably in a “frill” (you can also use a fork). Cook in boiling salted water – after sailing on the top cook for 3 more minutes. Serve with melted butter.

BIGOS (Hunter’s Stew) 



  •  1 3/4 lb (800 g) sauerkraut
  • 4 strips bacon or, even better, 4 thin slices Canadian bacon, diced
  • 1 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Small handful of dried wild mushrooms (any kind)
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) boneless venison, leg, or a stewing cut (not the loin), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) boneless stew beef, such as chuck, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) pork or veal shoulder, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup (240 ml) dry red wine
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) smoked kielbasa or another spicy hard sausage, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup (225 g) pitted prunes, quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bread for serving, preferably rustic and dark, such as a Russian loaf


1. Drain the sauerkraut, place it in a medium saucepan, and add 2 cups (480 ml) water and bacon pieces. Cover and boil over medium heat for 20 minutes or longer, until the sauerkraut is very tender and the bacon is cooked.

2. Meanwhile, put the fresh cabbage and dried mushrooms in a separate large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until the cabbage is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Rinse

4. Heat 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil over medium heat in a stew pot large enough to hold all the meat and vegetables. Cook the onion until softened, remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tbsp oil to the pot and lightly brown the meat, in batches, over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes per side, transferring the meat to a plate when it’s done.

5. When all the meat has been browned, raise the heat to high, pour in the wine, and boil briefly, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Return the meat and all its resting juices back to the pot, and add the onion, kielbasa, prunes, cabbage, and the sauerkraut and bacon mixture, along with its cooking water. Salt generously, add several grinds of pepper, and bring to a boil.

6. Turn down the heat, cover the pot with the lid slightly askew, and simmer on very low heat for a good 2 to 3 hours, until the meat falls apart and the broth is rich and brown. Stir the stew occasionally, and ensure that the liquid isn’t evaporating too quickly (add a small amount of water when necessary). Some like a watery bigos, but we find the tastiest outcome is for the sauerkraut, cabbage, and meat all to be practically melted together, with enough sauce to keep everything moist, but not so much that any of the ingredients float, as in a more traditional stew.

7. Serve in a large casserole with a big spoon and thick slices of dark peasant bread. You’ll of course need utensils, but the fun of it is to shovel the bigos and its juices on to the bread. Bigos lasts forever, and gets better with time. One of Anne’s friends routinely makes this on Wednesday to serve on Saturday night, and swears that it improves every day.


Makowiec is a wonderful example of a festive enriched bread that is central to the Christmas celebrations in Poland.

Poppy seed roll

Makowiec 2

Step 1: Ingredients

Ingredients Filling:
  • 450g poppy seeds
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 50g mixed peel
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 30g walnuts
  • 30g almonds
  • 90g raisins
  • 2 egg whites (keep the yolks to one side, they get used in the dough)
  • 1 tbsp fast action yeast
  • 750g plain flour
  • 80g melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 120ml sour cream
  • 130g icing sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
  • 1 tbsp rum or vodka (I used krupnik a Polish, honey scented vodka liqueur)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • approx 100ml warm water
  • 130g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp water,
  • lemon juice or rum
Step 2: STAGE 1 – The filling
Put the poppy seeds into a saucepan, cover with water bring to the boil then strain through a fine sieve. Set to one side. (As this is my first time making makowiec I’m not sure how essential this stage is. On a repeat effort I would be tempted to miss it out and see if it made any difference. I’ll leave the choice up to you.)
  • Put the raisins, mixed peel, nuts and lemon zest into a food processor along with the poppy seeds an process until you have a rough paste and there are no longer any large pieces of nut or raisin. You can leave this chunky if you like but I prefer a smoother texture.
  • In a large pan, melt the butter then add the poppy seed mixture along with the honey and leave to cook over a low heat for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove from the heat.
  • In a bowl beat together the egg whites until stiff. Beat the whole egg into the poppy seed mixture followed by the egg whites.
  • Set the mixture to one side to cool while you make the dough.

Step 3: STAGE 2 -–the dough

In a large bowl place the dry ingredients (flour, icing sugar, salt and yeast). In a separate bowl or large jug combine the wet ingredients (eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, melted butter, alcohol and vanilla).

  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet mixture and combine together adding additional warm water a tablespoon at a time until all the flour is incorporated and you have a rough dough.
  • Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes or so until you have a smooth dough. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest for about an hour so that it doubles in size.

Step 4: STAGE 3 – Putting it all together

  1. Divide the dough and the mixture into the number of rolls you want to make then follow the remaining stages for each roll.
  2. Take the dough and roll it out into a thin, roughly square shape. Spread the required filling evenly across it leaving a small gap all around, then roll the dough up closing the seam and the ends as tightly as you can.
  3. Place the roll onto a greased baking sheet, cover then set aside to rise for a further 90 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C then bake for 30-40 minutes or until the exterior is golden brown. Allow to cool then glaze.

Makowki ( Polish Poppy Seed Bread Pudding)

It is typical Upper Silesian dessert.

  • 2  cups poppy seeds, ground
  • 2  cups milk
  • 2  cups heavy cream
  • 1  tablespoon butter
  • 8  tablespoons honey
  • 3  ounces rum
  • 6  ounces Amaretto
  • 1  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup raisins (pre-soaked in a little rum)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup  sliced almonds
  • 1  loaf  raisin bread (sliced 3/4 thick)
  • 2  ounces chocolate, shaved (bitter sweet)
  • 1  tablespoon  sliced almonds and walnuts


Prepare a day before because this needs to refridgerate over night. (It is sometimes difficult to find ground poppy seeds so the author uses the poppy seeds). Pput them in a coffee filter and pour boiling water over the poppyseeds twice, to soften them up, then put them in the food processor, set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat bring the milk, cream and butter almost to a boil.

While constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, add the honey, rum, amaretto, cinnamon, raisins, walnuts, and almonds.

Reduce heat to medium low and let this cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat off and add the ground poppy seed, stir twice and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minute( its important to have the heat off because the poppy seeds can become bitter if heated too much).

The mixture should be slightly thickened.

In a large glass bowl alternate layers the poppy seed mixture and the bread slices, starting with a ladle of the poppy seed mixture and ending with poppy seed mixture.

Should be 3 – 4 sweet dried bread layers.

Cover the top with chocolate shavings and almond slices.

Cover and put in the fridge overnight.




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