This will be my first world food challenge with a dish from Eastern Europe. I don’t know what took me so long to get to it, maybe the idea that Eastern European food might be less exotic or less “flashy” (than Mediterranean or Asian food for instance) thus less attractive (to me). Let’s say it’s just different, and not at all the type of food I’d cook on a normal day. I made vegetarian Kapusniaczki, a cabbage and mushroom pastry roll that is popular in Poland. While some Polish people enjoy eating this as an appetizer on Christmas Eve, most Pols are used to eating Kapusniaczki on Fat Tuesday.
I must say that cooking Kapusniaczki came today through a weird association of ideas. Today is the day after Johnny Hallyday passed away. For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, Johnny Hallyday is to France what Michael Jackson was to the World. Our national hot-shot singer, with a 57 year long national and international career, the idol of several generations, including mine as much as my grand-parents’s. They have always listened to his music and followed his career in the media, so I grew up in this environment too. Weird association of ideas, I said. My grand-mother from my mother’s side (not the one I am sometimes mentioning in my posts) is French, but was born from Polish parents.
My great-grand-mother was born in Poland and fled her country around 1930. I have been lucky enough to know her when I was very young, and although I only have very little memories of my own, my grand-parents have told me a lot about her, and she was known as an extraordinary woman in our family. Someone with a very strong personality and an even stronger character. Someone who beated World War II. Suddenly I thought that eating any type of food back then probably was luxury. So, screw fancy food and exotic flavors for today; my great-grand-mother and my grand-mother never cooked for me anything like Kapusniaczki before, but today, in honor of their own history, I give it a shot. And for the local culture of Poland.
INGREDIENTS (for 30 Kapusniaczki)
- 1/2 cabbage (I chose kale)
- 100 grams of mushrooms
- 1 onion
- a bit of oil for the pan
- 1.5 tbsp of cumin
- salt and pepper
- 1 pastry dough
- 1 egg yolk
- poppy seeds
- Chop the cabbage and cook it into salted boiling water until soften.
- Mince the onion and fry in the pan.
- When the onion is turning golden brown, add the mushrooms and gently cook.
- Salt and pepper, and add 1 tbsp of cumin.
- Cool and thoroughly drain the cabbage.
- Put in an electric mixer bowl the drained cabbage with the cooked mushroom and onion. Mix it all.
- Transfer to a bowl, adjust seasoning with salt if needed, and add the rest of cumin.
- Reserve in the fridge for an hour (or overnight).
- Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C.
- Unroll the pastry dough.
- Display “tubes” of the veggie preparation. Cut lines in the dough, along the tubes.
- Roll the dough around each “tube” to form a cylinder.
- Cut the tubes to form slightly bigger than bite size rolls and display them on the baking sheet of an oven baking tray.
- Beat the egg yolk and brush the rolls. By doing this, you can flatten the rolls a little.
- Sprinkle poppy seeds over each roll.
- Bake in the oven until golden (usually around 20 minutes).
- Eat warm.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.