Whether your child is in a growth spurt or you just need a meal to satisfy you longer than the 20 minutes it takes to eat it, Polish comfort food is the answer. We ate ours back on December 23rd, three hours before locking up the house and flying to spend 11 days with more than a dozen family members (First stop: Cape Charles Virginia, to see one of my brothers and sisters, and their kids. Second stop: Martinsburg, West Viriginia for our cousin’s wedding and most of Keith’s family).
In large part, this hurried meal was the kind of “cleaning out the fridge” and “pantry upkeep” situation I engage in every time I travel. It started because the potatoes threatened to grow legs and walk off while we were away. In the fridge, I had a link of kielbasa sausage and package of fresh sauerkraut with imminent expiration dates, plus some carrots and Brussels sprouts that I just knew would be despondent upon our return.
I pan-fried the vegetables and sausage while the potatoes boiled. As the components came together on our trays I realized this is very Polish. So, for good measure, I added some pickles, apple sauce, and apple cider. And there you have it. Polish comfort food. (Later, when turbulence and a thunderclap less than a mile from the plane kept our flight attendants from passing out snacks and drinks, I was able to focus on fear instead of fear and hunger.)
Notes and Tips:
- Try serving your Brussels sprouts with dill and sour cream – this is very traditional in Poland.
- The Brussels sprouts are also very good fried with the kielbasa (I kept them separate s0 my little vegetarian could enjoy them – she got tofu instead of kielbasa). If you have other veggies, feel free to add them (onion would be really good).
- Instead of potatoes, try pierogi.
- Leftovers can go straight into the freezer for another time. The night we got back I chopped them up and added them to lentils to make soup – even the sauerkraut. It was great!
- For more Polish recipe ideas and cultural info, check out some of our other Polish posts.
- Watch out for cider thieves!
In this regular column, I share one of our Around the World lunches with you. I give you tips, like where to find ingredients or possible substitutions. If you have ideas for lunches you’d like to see or challenges you need help dealing with, let me know in the comments!