Polish citizens tend to respect traditions and serve twelve dishes for Christmas Eve supper which is called Wigilia. Number of dishes represent twelve months in the year. People fast before christmas and that is why at the dinner you will not find meat, just fish – traditional carp, and also herring or pike. You will also find on the table mushroom soup, dumplings (pierogi) with cabbage and mashrooms, red borshch, compot made of dried fruit and spices, and other various dishes including fish and vegetables. In some regions bigos – sauerkraut but with mushrooms and plums instead of kielbasa.
Dinner starts after people share Christmas Eve wafer wishing each other good fortune, and this happens when “the first star appears in the sky”. After dinner it is time to get around christmas tree and open presents. After that people usually sit together at the table or fireplace, share stories and sing carols.
Recipe for Pierogi
Knead a dough from 14 oz. of flour, a pinch of salt and a whole egg, adding some warm water to soften the dough. Cover the dough with a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Divide it into four parts and cover three with the bowl. Roll the remaining piece out thin and cut out two-inch circles with a glass or cup. For the sauerkraut filling, take a pound and a half of sauerkraut, boil it for 30 minutes in little water, allowing the water to evaporate. Mince the cooked sauerkraut. Chop one big onion finely saute till golden. Mix with the sauerkraut. To complete the filling, take two pounds of mushrooms, slice and cook them with 2-3 spoons of water until it evaporates. Chop one onion and saute till golden, add mushrooms and season the mixture with salt on pepper before you mince it and mix it with the sauerkraut.
Place a spoonful of the filling in the middle of each circle and fold over pressing the edges firmly so that the pierogis do not open during cooking. Boil the pierogis in salted water for about 3 minutes (until they surface). The may be served immediately or chilled and then fried in vegetable oil.
Thanks for use of photograph to www.flickr.com/photos/michalo/4219869752