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Top Polish Chicken Food [With Recipes]

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A person presenting a plate of top Polish roasted chicken garnished with lemon slices and herbs, with fresh tomatoes in the background.

When I think about the top Polish chicken food, a lot of recipes come to mind very quickly. Why? The dishes are very traditional, have a rich history and have been reigning on Polish tables for years.

Prepared for a long time by Polish housewives, chicken remains a part of the most popular dishes to this day. We appreciate it for its nutritional value, namely, it is a source of protein. 

And let’s not forget its incredible versatility – whether you’re boiling, grilling, steaming, frying, or baking, chicken’s got you covered.

So buckle up and get ready to dive into the top Polish chicken food.  The recipes will surely tickle your taste buds and leave you craving more.

Polish Chicken Soup – Rosół

A bowl of top Polish chicken noodle soup with carrots, parsley, and a spoon, served on a wooden table.

Rosół, known as the “soup of power,” undoubtedly wears the crown as the king of soups in Poland and hence is at the very top of Polish chicken food.

It’s got a backstory that stretches way back in time, and to this day, it’s a Sunday staple for many Poles. I’m talking about a tradition here – you just can’t have a proper Sunday without a hearty bowl of rosół on the table. And it’s not just for Sundays; it makes a grand appearance during holidays and big celebrations too.

But Why Do Poles Call This Soup “Rosół”?

Professor Jan Miodek, one of Poland’s most respected linguists, explains that we should  associate the name  “rosół” with “sól,” meaning salt.

Back in the day before refrigerators, meat was preserved through drying and salting. As a result of this process, the meat got tough and hard. To make it edible later on, it needed to be soaked or “unsalted,” in other words, to remove the salt, so it would become tender again.

The History Of Rosół

Today, rosół is often made with chicken meat, but its history is quite surprising. It made its debut in Polish culinary literature thanks to Stanisław Czerniecki in the 17th-century cookbook “Compendium Ferculorum.”

Czerniecki suggested adding “all kinds of game” to rosół, including beef and veal, as well as birds like partridges, pigeons, and thrushes. Even back then, rosół was served with noodles, but not just that! It was also jazzed up with croutons, herbs, meatballs, and sausages.

In the iconic Polish masterpiece “Pan Tadeusz,” Adam Mickiewicz also decided to dedicate a moment to this exquisite soup. He wrote that “old Polish broth, artificially cooked, cleanses the blood and invigorates health.” But why “artificially cooked”? 

Well, it depended on how the broth was prepared. If the meat used for the broth was somewhat fancier, like hare, game, or even eels, the broth took on that name.

The poet borrowed this recipe from the aforementioned Czerniecki. The broth was intended to help those who were ill. It included extracts from lamb, capon, deer, and beef.

The Soup Of Power

Rosół has always been known for its special healing powers. Back in the 19th century, they called this kind of rosół “meat extract”. It was prepared with beef tenderloin or chuck with added vegetables.

Even today, if you’re sick in Poland, someone might offer to make you rosół. But to make it really work, you’ve got to use good quality ingredients. The best is meat from organic sources, without any added hormones or antibiotics. The longer you cook it, the more beneficial nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and proteins it releases.

Rosół contains lots of good stuff like amino acids, vitamins B2 and B12, and minerals like potassium and calcium. It’s good for your brain, skin, guts, joints, and metabolism.

In the 20th century, people started using bouillon cubes for making rosół. However, Poles would widely agree that nothing compares to the traditional method of preparing rosół, like the one in my rosół recipe.

Polish Chicken Jelly – Galareta z Kurczaka

A rectangular Polish chicken and vegetable aspic garnished with parsley and surrounded by red grapes on a white plate.

If you’re preparing rosół, you might want to plan ahead and make my Polish Chicken Jelly too. To clarify, it’s a dish made from leftover meat from the rosół.

Poles refer to this dish in various ways depending on the region. You’ll most commonly encounter names like “galareta,” (jelly), ”nóżki w galarecie” (jellied trotters), or ”zimne nóżki”(cold trotters).

Meat jelly is a festive treat in Poland, people often serve it during Easter or Christmas.

The History Of Meat Jelly In Poland

The oldest records of jelly date back to 1518 when jelly with meat and lettuce was served at the wedding feast of Sigismund I the Old and Bona Sforza. Jellies were prepared back then with poultry, capons, or fish.

The famous Polish chef Stanisław Czerniecki mentions this dish in his culinary book, Compendium Ferculorum. He recommended adding capon and veal to the jelly. Then the whole thing had to be seasoned with spices and dyed with colored flakes, which was the fashion of the time.

In the 19th century, thanks to the invention of edible gelatin, making jelly became easier.

The whole process of making jelly was quite a ritual, especially when using pork. The meat had to be carefully singed over the fire to remove any remaining hairs, hoof remnants, and separate the meat from the bones.

Eventually, due to economic crises, chicken began to replace pork and regarded as top Polish chicken food.  The preparation of jelly was similar then. Chicken was cooked in broth, deboned, the meat put into molds, and then covered with broth.

Meat Jelly As A Snack

In Poland, meat jelly was not only served in restaurants, but also sold it in snack bars, known as “bary przekąskowe,” as snacks to accompany vodka. Before World War II, Poles would call these bars “na widelcu” (literally bar on a fork) or “wyszynki” (taverns or taprooms).

Warsaw was a hub for such bars, famous for their delicious food, drinks, and excellent service. There, you could get a set of meat jelly with vodka, such as “seta i galareta” (100 ml of vodka and jellied trotters) or “lorneta z meduzą” (2 x 50 ml of vodka and jellied trotters, here called medusa).

Snack bars made a comeback in Poland a few years ago, aiming to recreate the unique atmosphere of old establishments. Meat jelly is still served there to this day.

Polish Chicken Liver – Pasztet z Wątróbek

Slices of chicken meatloaf on a lettuce bed with tomato wedges on a wooden plate.

My Chicken Liver recipe is a great way to make a healthy and delicious dish. The crispy, golden liver is full of nutrients and vitamins.

We classify chicken liver as offal, richer in fat, folate, and iron than beef liver. It’s also a good source of protein and vitamin B12, which is important for blood cells and cell function.

Unfortunately in Poland, people don’t value offal enough, they often think of it as “poor people’s meat.” This belief started during the communist era when offal was a cheaper option than regular meat.

Also, getting meat was tough due to economic challenges. However, society had to cope despite this. And that is why offal, including liver, made its way onto Polish tables.  

To make tasty liver, start with good-quality meat – fresh liver from a young chicken works best. Clean it well by removing any membranes, fat, and veins, then pat it dry.

For seasoning, you can use marjoram, thyme, rosemary, or other herbs. Add salt and pepper at the end.

Fry it until golden brown in vegetable oil heated to around 340-360°F (170-180°C).

After frying, drain the liver on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

FUN FACT: A famous Polish language expert, Jerzy Bralczyk, says that the phrase “feeding with liver” used to mean treating someone to delicious food.

Top Polish Chicken Liver Pate 

Chicken liver pate is always among the top Polish chicken food. But does making pate at home have to be hard? Not at all! Especially if you follow my recipe for a light pate made from chicken liver. It’s meaty but gentle, and low in calories.

This pate is perfect for sandwiches or serving at family gatherings, maintaining its shape perfectly when sliced. And it pairs wonderfully with fresh bread and pickles.

As I mentioned earlier, while liver itself may not be hugely popular in Poland, chicken liver pate has plenty of fans.

You can serve chicken liver pate as an appetizer on bread, toast, or even crackers. It’s also popular in Poland during the first or second day of Christmas, when you can leisurely enjoy meat and meat products.

Healthy Baked Chicken Cutlets

A bowl of freshly baked chicken cutlets with herbs on a tablecloth.

If you’re looking for a simple and healthy meal, try my recipe for Baked Chicken Cutlets. They’re easy to make and packed with flavor, thanks to the addition of various vegetables.

You can make these cutlets with ground chicken meat or simply cut chicken breast into small pieces; the end result will be similar.

This dish originates from Russian cuisine and dates back to the 19th century. Tradition says an innkeeper named Pożarski (hence Pozharski cutlet) prepared it for Nicholas I when he visited. Allegedly, the dish delighted the ruler so much that he insisted it be added to the palace menu.

In Poland, these cutlets were also called “chopped.” In Warsaw restaurants, chopped cutlets have been served since at least the mid-19th century. Back then they were usually made from leftover poultry mixed with veal.

Polish-Style Chicken Kiev Kotlet De Volaille 

The Kiev Cutlet, known to Poles as Kotlet de volaille, enjoys immense popularity in Poland. Despite its French name, this dish was actually created in Ukraine, but it got its French name from a French chef.

Marie-Antoine Carême worked in aristocratic households at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries and also cooked for Tsar Alexander I. According to tradition, it was the Eastern ruler who first tasted the dish invented in Kiev. The name “de volaille” simply means “of poultry” and refers to the meat used by the chef.

The original Kotlet de volaille should have only dill and butter inside, or herb butter with garlic. Nowadays in Poland, it’s often prepared with mushrooms, cheese or even ham such as in my recipe. It’s hard to imagine a family celebration or gathering without this chicken cutlet with filling.

These cutlets were super popular in the interwar period but then fell out of favor for a while. They made a comeback in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and are now a staple in Polish restaurants and homes.

Traditionally, Kiev cutlets are served with boiled or mashed potatoes and carrots or green peas. These vegetables have a mild flavor that goes well with chicken. However, nowadays in Poland, it’s also very popular to serve this cutlet with fries or potatoes and salad.

City Chicken

Grilled chicken kebabs on skewers with fresh herbs and sauces on a wooden board.

Finally, I’ll mention a dish that doesn’t come directly from Poland but rather from Polish immigrants in North America. What’s most surprising is its name, suggesting it’s top Polish chicken food, but that’s not entirely true.

Originally, this dish was called “Mock Chicken,” but over time, in the 1920s, it became known as City Chicken. Chicken dishes were very popular then and considered fancy. Everyone wanted to eat chicken, and if they couldn’t, they’d at least imitate it, especially the drumstick part.

During the Great Depression, farmers started panicking and producing more meat than the demand required. As a result, pork and beef became so cheap that people were giving it away to the hungry, who had to find tasty ways to cook all of it.

People consider City Chicken a Polish-American classic, with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as its starting point. From there, it spread to nearby cities like Youngstown, Cleveland, and then Detroit. All these cities have a large population from Eastern Europe. You’ll find City Chicken in medium-sized, cozy restaurants specializing in Polish cuisine.

So, What’s Exactly In City Chicken?

City Chicken is a dish consisting of meat cubes, usually pork, placed on a wooden skewer, and then fried and/or baked. Depending on the recipe, it can be also coated in egg wash and breaded. Some people even bake City Chicken in the oven and serve it with gravy.

You can quickly prepare low-carb, gluten-free City Chicken with three different breading options, depending on the ingredients you have at home. You can use either almond flour, or a combination of almond flour and parmesan, or crushed pork rinds with parmesan.

In summary, the top Polish chicken food includes a whole array of interesting options. You can prepare chicken meat in various ways, depending on your preferences. And if you don’t have chicken meat on hand, there’s always  City Chicken to save the day!

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