Polish Potato Cake {Babka Ziemniaczana}

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Polish Potato Cake {Babka Ziemniaczana}

Polish Potato Babka {Babka Ziemniaczana}
Polish Potato Babka {Babka Ziemniaczana}

Babka ziemniaczana [bahb-kah ziyem-nya-chah-nah], also knows as kartoflak [car-tof-lack] is a savory baked dish made of grated potatoes, spiked with golden pieces of smoked bacon and sautéed onion. With the addition of a few spices and herbs this side dish is a perfect (and affordable) way to bring a delicious variety to the usual meat-and-potato kind of dinner.

I have to say, Poles are very smart with their ingredients. Potato is a star of many dishes and often acts as the main ingredient. Pierogi ruskie, kopytka, kluski śląskie are just a few examples. This cheap root vegetable is grown and harvested all of the country and remains as one the preferred starches in our diet, winning the popularity contest against rice or pasta.

Serve it with a favorite protein, like karkówka or zrazy zawijane, or try it with a simple mushroom sauce, or a creamy fried cabbage. It also does well sautéed in butter or grilled. Just place thick slices on a well greased pan or a grill and brown lightly on each side.

Polish Potato Cake {Babka Ziemniaczana}

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 70-90 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs / 1 kg of raw potatoes
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 oz / 200 g of lean, smoked bacon
  • 1-2 tsp of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, or parsley)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • ⅓ c / 40 g of all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Peel and dice potatoes. Keep submerged in cold water until ready to blend.

  2. Dice onion and bacon. Sauté bacon on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until some of the fat melts. Add onion and sauté together until golden brown. Set aside. Chop the herbs.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.

  4. Grease a 9 x 5 inch / 23 x 13 centimeter loaf pan with butter or line with parchment paper.

  5. Place potatoes, eggs, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth (you can also use a hand grater to grate potatoes; use the smallest side of a box grater; add eggs and spices to mixture once grated).

  6. When blended, place in a large mixing bowl, add herbs, flour, bacon, and onions, and hand mix until combined. Pour mixture into the loaf pan.

  7. Bake for about 90 minutes, until the outside is golden brown and the middle is dry and set.

  8. Serve sliced after baking or reheat by placing slices in butter and sautéing each side until golden brown.

Notes

Try reheating slices in butter and serving with morning eggs!

To me, this could be a meal on its own. I like it with a tall glass of ice cold buttermilk on a hot summer day. Perfection.

Smacznego!

Anna


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13 Comments

  1. Looks delicious. Just found your site and I’m excited to try these and to check out all of your different listed dishes. We visited Poland last year and we are going again in November of this year. Thanks for providing a taste of Poland in the meantime.

  2. This was delicious! Only thing was mine came out a bit wet I think maybe I need to add my flour? Also, I left the skins on the potatoes. Very tasty still.

  3. I’m glad you shared this recipe. My family was from Podlaskie, 2 small villages, and also Augustow. I always bake the babka in a cast iron frying pan like my dad did, which helps to take the moisture out as it cooks, since it’s spread over a bigger surface area. It crisps up nicely on the outside, too. You can use bacon and some bacon fat instead of ham, as well. My son just made kielbasa, so while we had the casings, I made some potato kiszka which is very similar. It was great with the fresh Kielbasa. My son called it the trifecta, 🙂

  4. Hi, Anna. I came across this recipe while searching for a recipe my husband’s Polish grandfather made. I’m hoping you can help me figure it out. He called it “plat sick.” He took raw grated or pureed potato, mixed it with flour and some salt, and baked it in a skillet. He then cut it in wedges, cut the wedge open and sandwiched diced pork in it. Have you come across a recipe like this?

  5. Made it by hand grating the taters, cooked for 1-1/2 hrs, it wasn’t really tan on top, but toothpick came up clean. Never had this before, so first time trying it. It tastes much better fried up.

  6. Hi Anna, I’ll be making this for Christmas morning to fry up next to an egg strata. Do you think I’ll be ok to make 3 days before? I’m thinking it should hold nicely. Do you agree? I just love your site and your Christmas cookbook that I just received!
    Thank you!

  7. Thanks for your recipe. I’m from Belarus. My grand dad used a very similar recipe with one major change. Potatoes are pulped separately from the rest of the ingredients. Pulp is than separated from water using a cloth. Water gets discarded. The rest of the ingredients are now added to the recipe. Everything else is the way you have outlined in here.

  8. My Mom made something very similar to this-I have been searching for a recipe. The only thing gshe did different was to use ham instead of bacon. She fried a bit till crispy. She also soaked buckwheat groats and added to the mixture. I will definitely try this, it looks so good!

  9. Your recipe for the Polish Potato Babka sounds similar to a Potato Knish different crust outside that I grew up with. I’m new to your website and I hope to try many of your recipes. Do you have a favorite food that you grew up with?

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