Recipes and images from Polska: New Polish Cooking by Zuza Zak (Hardie Grant Books, $45, hbk).
As spring progresses and the earth blooms, fresher tastes start coming into play in Polish cooking. Side dishes begin to require young vegetables – this is especially true of the cabbage, which has a completely different flavour later on in the year. Young cabbage has a sweet taste that can be replicated through the use of another sweet cabbage such as the oblong Napa cabbage at other times of the year.
- 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 200 g (7 oz) streaky (lean) bacon, cut into fine strips
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 leafy young cabbages or Napa cabbages, shredded
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 bunches dill, finely chopped
- 3–4 tbsp tomato paste (purée)
- 1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- salt and white pepper, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) and fry the bacon strips over a medium heat until crispy. Add the onions and continue to fry for a further 4–5 minutes.
Add the shredded cabbage and water and stir together. Season and cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice, three-quarters of the chopped dill, tomato paste and the sugar. Continue to fry, stirring every couple of minutes, for a further 10 minutes with the lid removed. Try a bit and season again to taste.
Just before serving add the reserved dill. This dish works well as an accompaniment to chicken, or can be eaten on its own with crusty bread.
View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.