Saturday, June 26, 2010

Polish Food Recipes - Potato Babka

Potato babka is considered unique even as far as Polish food is concerned. Limited to Eastern parts of Poland it is also popular in other areas of Eastern Europe. Its popularity in Poland has even led to annual potato babka competitions where participants present their best recipes. Potato babka or potato casserole also has a place in Jewish culinary culture, except that pork is not used. Prior to World War 2, Eastern Europe was home to many vibrant Jewish communities and culinary recipes and tastes had transited between Jews and gentiles. As someone who grew up in a region of Poland lucky enough to have potato babka as a traditional dish, I will present you with an original recipe passed on to me by my mother and grandmother. Potato babka is very inexpensive and easy to make, and this particular recipe comes from the Podlasie region of Poland.

  • 18 - 20 medium size potatoes
  • 12 ounces of pork fat or bacon
  • 1 1/2 onion
  • salt and pepper
  • lard

Chop pork fat and onion into fine particles and let them simmer in a pan until golden.

Peel the potatoes and finely grind using a food processor. Mix the potatoes with pork fat and onion. Add salt and pepper for flavor. As an option, you can also mix in a raw egg.

Grease either an aluminum pan or a cast iron fry pan with lard to prevent potato babka from sticking. Alternatively, you can spray the pan with PAM or something similar. Pour the mixture into the pan and place into an oven preheated to 450 degrees F

Bake potato babka for 1 1/2 hours. The finished product should develop a dark brown sides, bottom and top. To make sure that babka is ready, puncture it with a fork to see if the potatoes are fully cooked. Carefully take potato babka out of the oven and let it rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve hot with milk or butter milk. Bon Appetit!


Doodles said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe! I have been looking for one forever!

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blast from the past of my gram's kitchen. She used salt pork instead of bacon & topping the finished product w/ sour cream is a much better choice than a milk. Always using cast iron pans.

Unknown said...

My great-grandmother smothered hers with bacon and onions. None in the dish, just on top. We fry the leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

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