Authentic Polish Cooking: 120 Mouthwatering Recipes, from Old-Country Staples to Exquisite Modern Cuisine, written by Marianna Dworak, features the traditional, homestyle cooking of Poland. A few highlights include Mazurek Cake, Angel Wings, Polish Doughnuts, Apple-stuffed Duck, and Bacon-wrapped Plums. I will also be sharing her recipe for Zupa Truskawkowa (Polish Strawberry Soup) following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Marianna Dworak was born in Warsaw, Poland and now lives in the United States as a writer, editor, and cook. She developed her passion for cooking from her mother and grandmothers.
Authentic Polish Cooking
Growing up, Marianna developed her love of cooking by being included in the entire process of putting together a meal from grocery shopping to the prep work and setting the table. She was inspired to create the cookbook from her mother’s binders and notebooks of handwritten recipes. She even dedicated the book to her mother “who taught me to never take shortcuts, whether cooking, baking, or going through life.”
Chapters are divided based on course: Soups; Sides, Salads, and Sandwiches; Meat Dishes; Fish Dishes; Vegetarian Dishes; Cakes and Desserts; and Holidays.
During the introduction, Marianna gives a concise explanation of Polish cuisine and culture over the years, including the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and regional differences. There is even a special section highlighting cooking for the holidays (Easter, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve).
The name of each dish is listed in English and Polish. Many of the recipes are accompanied by quarter to full page photo, usually of the finished product. Headnotes are provided for some of the recipes with tips, serving ideas, and pairing guides. Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric.
Zupa Truskawkowa (Polish Strawberry Soup)
I am featuring Marianna’s recipe for the light and refreshing Polish Strawberry Soup (Zupa Truskawkowa/Truskawkowy). It can be served hot or even chilled for those particularly scorching summer days. The soup is great on its own as a starter or with pasta (I used fusilli), sour cream, and mint for a light meal.
Zupa Truskawkowa is also incredibly easy to make and only takes about 30 minutes. Strawberries, fresh or thawed frozen, are chopped and simmered in water with a bit of sugar. Most of them are pureed until smooth, but a few pieces are reserved to add a little texture. I used an immersion blender so I could puree the soup right in the pot. If using a stand blender, you may need to do a couple of batches.
I also made Cucumber Salad (Mizeria), Beef Stroganoff (Befstroganof) with Dumplings (Kluski Kładzione), and Jam-filled Crescent Rolls (Rogaliki z Róża).
Mizeria is a Polish Cucumber Salad and may just be the easiest recipe in the book. Cucumbers are simply sliced and tossed with sour cream or yogurt and a little salt. I sprinkled some dill over the top for a little color. It is light, refreshing and the perfect way to use up any extra summer cucumbers. Marianna recommends pairing it with a meat dish like Befstroganof.
The Befstroganof (Beef Stroganoff) was a wonderful comfort food. Cubes of beef tenderloin are lightly marinated, then cooked with mushrooms, diced pickles, and onions in a paprika sour cream sauce. I paired the meal with the Mizeria (Cucumber Salad) and Kluski Kładzione (Dumplings). My Kluski Kładzione weren’t nearly as perfect as the photo, but they were quite delicious and perfect with the Befstroganof.
Rogaliki z Róża are homemade crescent rolls filled with jam. We had them for breakfast, but they would also be great paired with tea for an afternoon snack. I had some extra strawberry jam in the refrigerator so I used that as a filling, but Marianna also provides a recipe for Rose Petal Jam using fresh rose petals, sugar, and lemon.
Looking for more Polish recipes?
- Jajecznica (Scrambled Eggs with Polish Sausage)
- Karpatka (Polish Carpathian Cream Cake)
- Pierniki (Polish Spiced Gingerbread)
Authentic Polish Cooking is a no frills cookbook with traditional Polish recipes as the main focus. Other than the introduction, there aren’t too many extra stories or background information for the recipes. Dishes range across skill levels, from basic broths and stocks to the more intricate layered cakes. Lots of offerings are available for vegetarians along with meat and fish enthusiasts. There is also plenty for those who love baking, though some recipes may be better suited for the more experienced baker. No step-by-step photos are included and at times the instructions don’t specify rising time for yeast doughs or pan sizes for cakes. You will also find a variety of soups, salads, and spreads, but no beverages.
Most of the ingredients needed are readily available in the average American supermarket. Farmer cheese may be one of the only ones that is difficult to locate, but Marianna even includes a recipe to easily make your own at home (she also recommends spreading it on a slice of bread with tomato and sprouts for a delicious snack).
Zupa Truskawkowa (Polish Strawberry Soup) Recipe
Excerpt from Authentic Polish Cooking
Zupa Truskawkowa (Polish Strawberry Soup)
- 2 pounds (900 grams) fresh or frozen strawberries
- 2 quarts (2 liters) water
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
- Sour cream
- Cooked noodles
- Mint leaves
- Clean and cut the strawberries into small cubes, if using fresh strawberries. Thaw the frozen strawberries for about 30 minutes.
- Boil 2 quarts (2 L) of water, adding the sugar to dissolve. Put in three-quarters of the strawberries and boil on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Let the water and strawberries cool, then mix in a blender or puree until you get a smooth texture.
- Add in the remaining strawberries and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes.
- You can serve this soup hot, or leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and serve chilled. You can also mix it with some sour cream, add in noodles, or decorate with mint leaves.