Polish Herring in Sour Cream {Śledź w Śmietanie}

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Polish Herring in Sour Cream {Śledź w Śmietanie}

I know you’re already thinking this can’t work… I admit, it seems this one is for more adventurous eaters, but if you like fish, you will like this rendition of a very under-appreciated (in America) piece of fish. 

Poles eat A LOT of herring. I would be willing to bet, that there is some kind of herring dish in every Pole’s fridge at any given time. It’s like the Bubba thing with shrimp in Forest Gump, only with herring. Herring in oil, pickled herring, salted herring, herring in sour cream, herring roll-ups, herring in onions, herring salad… you get the point. 

 This particular recipe is always served for Christmas in my home, and a few times throughout the year. The combination of hot potatoes and cold, sweet and crunchy mixture of onion, apple and salty, fishy taste of herring. I’m a huge fan. 

Herring with sour cream

The proper way of making this dish is with salted filets, but I was not able to find it here, so I used pickled herring in wine sauce. The salted herring is made by curing in salt only. Salt “cooks” it and it’s then stored in oil. The process also softens the fish bones, so no need to worry about deboning. Pickled herring on the other hand is preserved with vinegar and spices, therefore the two have slightly different taste. If you can find the salted kind, or you have time to have it delivered, I’d suggest to go with it. All you have to do after opening the container, is patting them dry with a paper towel. 

Polish Herring in Sour Cream {Śledź w Śmietanie}

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • About 7 oz / 200 g of salted herring filets (herring a la Matias)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 3-5 potatoes
  • Pinch of pepper

Instructions

  1. If using herring filets in salt brine (herring a la Matias) they have to be soaked in water to remove excess salt. Place herring filets in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for at least one hour.

  2. In the meantime, cut the onion in a half and thinly slice each half (or use mandoline for even slices). Place slices in a strainer and run a pot of freshly boiled water through the onions to slightly soften them, and take the sharpness away.

  3. Drain the herring and pat dry. Cut into bite size pieces. Place in a mixing bowl.

  4. Once the onions have cooled, shred the apple and add both to the fish.

  5. Add sour cream immediately, to prevent the apple from turning brown. Add pepper and mix well.

  6. Cover and cool in the fridge for at least an hour.

Notes

When ready to serve, boil peeled potatoes. Place hot potatoes on a plate and top with the cold fish mixture. Enjoy year-round.

Let me know what you think about this unusual dish in comments below.

Smacznego!!

Anna


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10 Comments

  1. Hi, I have just tried to access your recipe for herring in sour cream but unfortunately you do not have it on your website, only a write on types of herring. Would it be possible for you to provide this recipe as it is one I would love to make at Easter. Thanks a million.

    1. Hi Anna. Sorry about that. I just transferred my website recently and it looks like I didn’t copy this one properly. The recipe is now showing. Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you! Smacznego!! Anna

      1. Thanks a lot for the herring in sour cream recipe. I look forward to making it, as well as eating it. Also enjoy visiting your website and endeavouring to try out as many of your recipes as possible. Many thanks again for your reply.

  2. Dear Anna,
    My husband (not Polish) saw your recipe for herring in sour cream and really wanted to try it. We found salted herring at a Polish deli in Portland, Maine and made the dish last night. It was AWESOME!!! What a wonderful combination of flavors. Thanks for bringing all of this great Polish food to all.

  3. I have never made this. I’ve always been the “consumer”. LOL. I was one of the odd-ball kids who LOVED pickled herring…. but with “cream sauce” always the best.

    The apples…. that’s also a great “trick” to cooking sausage with kraut.

    Passed on by my grandmother….. peel and cut up a few red potatoes or goldens. NOT Idaho. Cut into small cubes, about a quarter inch.

    Rinse your sauerkraut well, WELL.

    Put in slow cooker or pot over low slow heat.

    Put in cubed potatoes and mix with sauerkraut. Depending on the taste of those who will be consuming, peel and core and cube 1 or 2 apples …. or add 1/2 to 1 cup of homemade applesauce (as in no additives, no added sugar, etc…)

    Mixa mixa mixa as the kids say…. then add your kielbasa (better if cut into sections) and let simmer for a few hours.

    Jazz it up,
    Option 1 – fresh dill – purchase or gather and finely mince enough dill to taste. Too much can ruin…. add 1/4 tsp at a time, mix, let it rest, taste, add more if necessary
    Option 2 – core out a jalapeno (seeds and placenta) so you have just the thick part of the pepper left. Dice fine and add offer as “garnish” along with parsley

    Advice: NEVER use “table salt” if you use salt. Use kosher salt. Otherwise, if you use simple table salt, everyone eating your cooked cabbage or kraut is getting a more “metallic tang” taste than they ever desired.

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