“Do you guys celebrate Thanksgiving in Poland?” was a questions I was asked many times around this time of the year when I first came to the US. Well, we don’t, but after making turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole for my family and friends in Poland we just may start. We were in Poland one year around Thanksgiving and wanted to celebrate this delicious holiday with my family, even though the only American there was my husband. Dinner was a great hit, and my family talks about it still, even though its been probably close to 10 years since.
Whole turkey is not a bird that’s cooked often in Poland, as a matter of fact I’ve never seen it cooked whole before moving the US. Turkey breast, yes, but not the whole turkey. They were pleasantly surprised to see that there is an easy way to cook it, without it being dry. I can say I “American-ed” my Polish family. I’ve made the dish for them many times since.
I’ve been here in the US for over 16 years now, a few years ago I’ve decided there is no reason we can’t Polish our Thanksgiving a bit and include some of my traditional dishes in the menu. Here are some of my favorites that I think would complement the traditional turkey dinner.
Every Polish holiday is marked with a cabbage dish. Kapusta z grzybami is a tangy vegetarian dish served during Christmas, and now Thanksgiving in my home.
Kopytka dyniowe is my Polish fusion dish. They are doughy and savory potato dumplings that will be a perfect vessel for turkey gravy, can be made ahead of time (even the day before) and will fit right in between the green bean casserole and sweet potatoes.
Warm and creamy beets, slightly sweet and tangy make a great addition to a meat-and-potatoes kind of dinner. It will compliment a roasted turkey and mashed potatoes greatly and put a truly Polish spin on your holiday dinner. Also can be prepared ahead of time and warmed up right before serving.
Marchewka z groszkiem is a mild and smooth mixture of the two vegetables in delicious lightly sweet sauce. Simple and quick dish and kids love it too.
This upgraded potato salad is often made when the veggies of the summer are no longer in season, and we’re back to the basics: carrots, potatoes, eggs, pickles, onions. It is ALWAYS served during Christmas or Easter, and it’s the ultimate flavor of the holidays. Making it a day or two ahead of time will only improve the taste.
Because there really isn’t a traditional Thanksgiving drink, I think this would make a great addition to the combo. Soft pears in sweet and aromatic juice. Serve hot or cold to clean the palette or to accompany a delicious dessert.
It’s soft and aromatic with cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves coming through, and also a bit citrus flavor of orange zest and marmalade added to the dough. Dark chocolate glaze adds complexity to the mix and ties this dessert together.
Good luck cooking my hungry friends! I hope you enjoy this holiday season and extend your favorite flavors to your loved ones.
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