Polish Meatballs {Pulpety}

I asked my 11-year-old today, what she would like for dinner… she quickly said: “pulpety”. A good way to guarantee a dinner success. I can always tell when she likes my food, and when she just tolerates it. She’ll never tell me that it doesn’t taste good, but if dinner takes more than 20 minutes, its clear, it’s not her favorite dish. But when I get so much enthusiasm from planning dinner, I’m guaranteed dinner satisfaction.

She was always a great eater. She was exposed to flavors of “normal food” from early age. I never cooked separate meals for her, and she accepted it as the only option… so we were lucky in this department, I know how fussy some kids can be with their eating habits leaving their parents with limited options and resorting to a couple of dishes they know their kids will eat.

One time, I think she was 4, I served pickled herring rolls with olives at a house party. Adults were sitting around the table, enjoying food and drink, and the kids ran up to see what they could snatch off the table. I asked: “Hanna, do you want some herring?”, she quickly came back “sure!” Stuffed her little face with a piece of fish rolled around a pimento olive and went on her way… we were all waiting for a reaction, but were surprisingly wowed with a lack of one.

Now, that she’s 11, her pallet is evolving and becoming more and more demanding. It’s not only normal for her to eat sour rye soup {white barszcz} or pasztet, she loves it! I think she truly enjoys different varieties of flavors. And to a cooking mom (a Polish cooking mom!) this is a big deal 🙂

Meatballs {pulpety} is a pretty popular dish among Polish children. Aromatic meatballs in irresistibly creamy gravy over warm kopytka or mashed potatoes renders this a kid friendly dish.

Traditionally, I’m using pork and beef mixture, but turkey would work great also. Beef is easy, as it normally comes ground. Pork however is a bit more challanging to find ground, however any grocer with a meat counter will grind any piece of meat when requested. I’m using a meat grinder attachment to my stand up KitchenAid mixer and not only put the meat though it, but also bread, garlic and the carrot for this particular recipe. This works well for me, as I can choose any cut of meat I prefer and always be sure that I’m eating real food, free of fillers and scraps.**

Polish Meatballs {Pulpety}

  • Yields: 30 meatballs
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min


  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • About 1 lb of ground beef
  • About 1 lb of ground pork (pork loin or shoulder, but any part will do)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 slices of bread or 1/2 cup of bread crumbs or 2 dinner rolls
  • 1 boiled carrot (optional)
  • 1 raw egg
  • 2 tbs of minced parsley
  • 1/2 tbs of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground pepper
  • 4 cups of broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
  • 6-8 corns of pepper and allspice each (whole)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 pieces of dried mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup of cold water
  • 3 tbs of all purpose flour


  1. Mince onion and saute in butter until golden brown around the edges.

  2. Cube meat and put through a meat grinder, follow with garlic, carrot and bread slices (if using bread).

  3. To meat mixture add sautéed onion, parsley, egg, bread crumbs (if using instead of bread), salt, pepper. With your hands, mix until combined.

  4. Heat broth in a medium pot with bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice and mushrooms. Form even balls* (I like using an icecream scooper, balls come out same size) about 2 inches in diameter. Drop raw balls into simmering broth (on low).

  5. Simmer for 15 min. Take out one, cut open and see if its cooked.

  6. When cooked through, take meatballs out and strain the sauce though a small strainer or cheese cloth.

  7. In a small bowl whisk water and flour. Return broth to pot and heat through. Add water/flour mixture to thicken the sauce. Bring to boil. Taste. Amount of salt will depend on your broth, so if you think it needs more, add a bit at a time.

  8. Return meatballs to the sauce and heat before serving. Garnish with parsley.


* Have a small bowl of warm water handy and wet hands to keep meat from sticking while forming balls.

Serve over polish potato dumplings {kopytka} or mashed potatoes, with a side of a cold salad, e.g. beet salad, carrot salad, sauerkraut salad or my favorite side to a gravy-type dinner: a hot fried beet salad.

I hope you try serving this to your children and please do let me know how they turned out for you in comments below.

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