Tradition calls for twelve courses to be served during Wigilia. All the dishes are meatless and should be made from foods that come from the four corners of the earth: forest, sea, field and orchard.
Polish cooks over the centuries had to be very resourceful, working within these limitations, and it is a tribute to their creativity that they came up with such a rich variety of recipes based on root vegetables, dried mushrooms and dried fruits, potatoes and cabbage, local fish, and flour-based pastries and dishes, such as kluski and pierogi.
These recipes are loved by Poles everywhere and in spite of the fact that Christmas Eve is no longer a day of fast and abstinence and even though fruits and vegetables as well as imported seafood are now widely available, on this day the traditional recipes are lovingly prepared in kitchens all across Poland and around the world.
- 2 ounces dried mushrooms
- 16 ounces fresh mushrooms (portabella mushrooms preferred)
- 1 large onion
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 pounds sauerkraut, rinsed in cold water, and drained
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons flour
- salt and pepper
Directions: Soak the dried mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water for 2 hours drain, and squeeze dry in a cheesecloth. Chop finely. Wash and coarsely chop the fresh mushrooms and onion and sauté in the butter in a skillet for 5-7 minutes. Add sauerkraut to mushrooms; cook and stir for another 10 minutes.
Blend 1/3 cup water into flour, beating gently to remove lumps. Add slowly to sauerkraut and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.