The 12 Dishes of Polish Christmas

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Christmas market decorations in Krakow

Introduction: Polish Christmas Dishes

As a matter of fact Christmas Eve dinner, or Wigilia, is the most important celebration of the year for families throughout Poland. Moreover as well as close family, it is customary to set an extra plate and seat for a surprise guest! Incidentally meat cannot be consumed (so for all you vegetarians, Poland is the perfect place to celebrate). Furthermore the celebration can last many hours, mostly due to the 12 different dishes to munch through.

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Mulled Wine in Krakow

Of course the specific dishes differ by religions, regions or traditions, the following is a short guide to the popular choices.

  1. Red Borscht

    A traditional soup made from beetroot and a sour soup base.

  2. Mushroom Soup

    This second course is more of a soup. It’s made from dried forest mushrooms and often comes with thin noodles .

  3. Christmas Eve Carp

    Christmas Eve carp is often accompanied by hot sauerkraut with dried mushrooms, a vegetable salad or potatoes.

  4. Carp Jewish Style

    Pieces of fish slowly simmer in a fish stock. Comes with a side serving of natural jelly with onion, almonds, raisins and soft bread.

  5. Herrings

    Now the most common version of this dish is to serve in oil with sour apples, chopped onions and root vegetables

  6. Pierogi

    Dumplings stuffed with cabbage or sauerkraut and dried forest mushrooms.

  7. Braised Souerkraut

    When life gives you cabbages – slice, ferment, and make sauerkraut from them.

  8. Gołąbki

    These cabbage rolls are usually with a filling of meat. However for Wigilia, the stuffing is vegetarian with cereals such as buckwheat, pearl barley or rice.

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    Christmas Tree in the Old Town, Krakow

    Kutia

    It’s a mixture of cooked, unprocessed wheat grains, cooked poppy seeds, honey, dry or candied fruits. Then these stay soaking in a small amount of port or red wine and various nuts.

  10. Old Polish Piernik

    As a matter of fact he preparation of gingerbread usually takes weeks in advance. Then baking it a few days before Wigilia and serving it with powidła (plum preserve). Children often bake smaller cookies for tree decorations.

  11. Dried Fruit Compote

     It contains dry and smoke fruits, typically plums, apples, pears, raisins and apricots. Actually a tactical dish, as it’s purpose is to speed up digestion.

  12. Poppy Seed Cake

    Afterwards if you still have room after all of that, fill the void with delicious poppy seed cake topped with poppy seed cream.

So there you have it! The 12 dishes of Polish Christmas. Finally you’ll just need just a little time to prepare them and lots of time to enjoy them.

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