Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients.
By
The Roo Sisters

6 May 2013 - 2:34 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Beetroot

The beetroot is the edible root of a beet, typically dark red and a common ingredient in a range of Polish dishes. Cwikla, a typical Polish accompaniment to a roast, is made with grated cooked beetroot, and one of Poland’s most popular soups, barszcz, is a bright red, fermented beetroot soup.

Rye

A wheat-like cereal plant, used mainly for flour and bread. A popular Polish soup named zurek, sometimes called the “yesterday’s menu soup”, is made with whole wheat rye flour.

Smoked fish

Smoked flavours are common in Polish food, due to the traditional methods of cooking over fire. Today, smoked flavours are instead imparted through ingredients such as smoked herring or smoked salmon. Smoked herring is often served as an appetiser after a soup, but before the main course.

Cured meats

Due to the cold and sparse nature of Poland’s climate, food which is easily preserved from month to month is found in many traditional Polish dishes. Cured meats are common, particularly ham and an assortment of Polish sausages.

Pork

Pork is a common protein in Polish food, particularly pork loin, cutlet and knuckle. A traditional dish is kotlet schabowy, which is fried, breaded pork cutlet.

Parsnip

A long, white, sweet root vegetable of the parsnip plant. The vegetable is commonly used to accompany hearty roasts and also forms the base of a number of Polish soups.

Celeriac

An edible variety of celery, with a large turnip-like root, used as a vegetable. A standard soup vegetable in Poland, it also makes a nice salad when grated.

Cabbage

A leafy garden plant with a short stem and a compact head of leaves. Cabbage is used in a variety of recipes; shredded for salads, brined and used as part of a dumpling mixture, or added to a number of soups.

Mushrooms

An edible fungus, generally with a round top and short stem. Mushrooms are frequently used in Poland, following a strong tradition of mushroom hunting. A number of varieties are used in Polish cooking to add an earthy flavour, including chanterelles, parasol and boletus.

Potatoes

A starchy vegetable grown underground that’s used in many traditional rustic dishes, such as soups and stews. They’re also used as a side dish.

Sauerkraut

A strongly flavoured, fermented mixture of shredded cabbage, salt and spices.