Braised cabbage is like the nerdy younger brother to the now hip fried brussels sprouts or effortlessly cool kale caesar salad. Grassy and cruciferous like its siblings, cabbage is simply bigger, bulkier, and (often) less flavorful. But if cabbage is prepared as it is in Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden's From A Polish Country House Kitchen, it has a chance at popularity.
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During foraging season, mushrooms appear on the Polish table in many forms. They can be sauteed, pickled, and simmered into soups. These Twice-Cooked Wild Mushrooms present a unique technique: the 'shrooms are first boiled basically to smithereens. Once totally tender, they take a trip to a skillet with butter, onions, and dill to become even more silky smooth before being finished with sour cream.
When I think of Eastern European cuisine I think of pierogi (coming later this week) and I think of barszcz (also spelled borscht). Barszcz is seen in many iterations throughout Poland, Russia, and Ukraine; sometimes it is thick with pieces of beet and shreds of beef, sometimes the soup blushes with sour cream, and other times it it served crystal clear. The traditional Polish version in Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden's From A Polish Country House Kitchen is that of the third type. After simmering a multitudinous concoction of beets, carrots, celery root, leeks, onions, garlic, and beef bones in several cups of water until rich in color and deep in earthy flavor, the entire contents of the pot are strained out. The soup is then served simply with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of sour cream.