Vegan Polish Xmas 2008

It has certainly been a while. I’m currently in Edmonton celebrating christmas with my family. Celebrating christmas in my family is more of a Polish tradition then necessarily anything to do with religion, but then again, Poland is generally quite Catholic. My family is primarily interested in spending quality time together and EATING!!!

So, what does a vegan Polish Christmas Eve dinner at my house look like? There are only three people in my immediate family, so you might notice the extra empty place setting. That’s traditional in many families, and is for an unexpected guest, or a drifter, or anyone that might drop by in need of food.

We started with a freshly made beet soup (Barscz), consisting of shredded beet root, sliced celery, leeks, green onion, salt and pepper, lemon juice and hazelnut oil. In the center of each plate is a brown sugar baked yam.

After that we have homemade perogies. On Monday my mother and I made approximately 250 of them, and froze most of them. They have a slightly sour and salty cabbage and mushroom filling, the dough is absolutely simple: flour, water, and just a touch of salt. The most difficult part of making them is kneading the dough, which is both really physical, and really important to get the right consistency.

Then we have a selection of salads. This year we had potato salad, a slightly sweet cabbage salad, and a vegetable salad.

The vegetable salad (sałatka jarzynowa) is rather traditional Polish fare, though the recipe varies from region to region and family to family you know what it is when you see it. 🙂

My recipe for sałatka jarzynowa involves potatoes, onions, a fresh celery root, carrots, green peas, white beans, mustard, pickles, salt, pepper, and hazelnut oil. The salad usually has mayonnaise mixed into it, but we have always just covered the top with it. Of course, in my case it’s slathered with veganaise. Sometimes people put horseradish in it, or eggs. I’ve even seen recipes calling for prawns or other fish.

The potato salad has potatoes boiled in the skin, celery (and celery leaves), green onion, pickles, pickle juice and walnut oil in it. It’s garnished with a few tomatoes and some cilantro.

Thanks for reading, and I hope if and/or whatever holiday you celebrate was fantastic. Have a great new year!