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Polish Meat Stew Recipe – Forszmak Lubelski

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A bowl of Forszmak Lubelski, a traditional Polish Meat Stew, placed on a rustic wooden table.

Forszmak Lubelski is a traditional Polish meat stew with Polish dill pickles and different kinds of meat. What sets this recipe apart is its simplicity—all cooked up in just one pan. And, to top it off, it’s incredibly filling.

Despite previous popularity, Forszmak seems to have faded from Poland’s culinary memory, and that’s a shame because it’s absolutely delicious!

A Polish woman holding up a bowl of meat stew, following a traditional recipe.

Where Does Forszmak Lubelski Come From?

Forszmak Lubelski is a traditional dish from the Lublin region in eastern Poland with a long history rooted in Polish Jewish cuisine.

The name “forszmak” comes from the German word “vorschmack” meaning “appetiser.” But make no mistake – this is a main course in Poland, not a starter! While the name may be German, this stew has deep ties to Poland, coming from the cuisine of Polish nobility and Jewish communities in Lublin.

Some of the earliest written mentions of this dish date all the way back to the 1700s. Of course, the preparation has changed over the centuries. Back then, it was more of a chicken and beef broth rather than a stew. Over time, it transformed into a chilled soup made from poultry meat and vegetables. It’s also worth mentioning that Forszmak Lubelski was popular not only among the nobility but also among townspeople and peasants because of the simple preparation and accessible ingredients.

During the 20th century, Forszmak Lubelski was served in popular new restaurants in Lublin alongside traditional Polish foods. In the 1970s, interest in foreign cuisine temporarily declined its popularity, but the economic crisis in the 1980s brought it back into the spotlight.

Forszmak became a humble, filling meal, making the most of modest ingredients like pickles and cheap cuts of meat. After the fall of communism, Forszmak regained its status as a cherished regional speciality. It proudly features on the menus of restaurants in Lublin and beyond. Foodies make pilgrimages there just to try the city’s famous stew. But many still prefer the taste of Babcia’s homemade forszmak above all else!

On October 8, 2010, Forszmak was officially recognised as a traditional product in the Lublin Voivodeship, listed in the category of Ready-made dishes and meals.

What Makes Forszmak Lubelski So Special?

This dish can be a great opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and expand your culinary skills. Plus, this unique recipe blends sweet and spicy flavours that you won’t find anywhere else. The one-of-a-kind taste combination makes Forszmak Lubelski so special. 

Beyond its amazing taste, Forszmak Lubelski is full of nutrients. The meat provides a healthy dose of protein, the vegetables are packed with vitamins, and the groats supply valuable fibre. With all of these blended into one dish, Forszmak Lubelski can be an excellent addition to your daily diet.

How to Serve Forszmak Lubelski

Forszmak Lubelski is a dish that tastes best served hot. Traditionally it is paired with bread (especially rye bread), boiled potatoes or groats.  In some areas of the Lublin region, instead of bowls, it is served in pancake dough baskets. The baskets are prepared using a slightly flattened ladle, which is heated in hot oil, put into a bowl with pancake batter and dipped again in hot oil.

A traditional Polish meat stew recipe featuring sausage and vegetables, served steaming hot on a rustic wooden table.

Tips For Cooking Forszmak Lubelski

1. Experiment With Flavours

Forszmak Lubelski recipes can vary, but the key is balancing the sour and sweet. You want the pickled cucumbers to taste nice and sour. Then the onions and cream should add sweetness. Finding that perfect balance is what gives Forszmak Lubelski its distinctive taste. Feel free to adjust the recipe amounts until you get the sour-sweet profile just right for you. 

2. You Can Add Sourdough or Vinegar

The original recipe for Forszmak Lubelski also involves adding sourdough or wine vinegar, which gives the dish a slightly pungent flavour. Feel free to add any of these for that extra something!

3. You Don’t Have to Use All the Meats

You may use just beef or just pork. Just make sure you will use 21 oz (600g) of raw meat in total.

4. The Consistency

Forszmak Lubelski can be eaten in the form of a stew or soup. If you want to try the soup version, simply add broth or water at the end!

Polish Meat Stew Recipe – Forszmak Lubelski Recipe

Part I-Prepare the Pot

Pour 6 cups (1 ½ litres) of water into a large pot. Add 3 allspice berries and 3 bay leaves and start cooking.

A hand holding some leaves in a pot while preparing a delicious Polish Meat Stew called Forszmak Lubelski.

Part II-Fry the Beef

Take out a large pan or wok. You will need it to fry meat and veggies. Dice 250g (9oz) of beef, sprinkle it with salt (⅓ tsp) and pepper (⅓ tsp), then coat in 1 tbsp of flour. Fry the beef in 1 tbsp of oil, 3 minutes on each side.

Part III-Prepare the Pork

In the meantime, dice 350g (12 oz) of pork, sprinkle with salt (⅓ tsp) and pepper (⅓ tsp), then coat in 1 tbsp of flour.

Forszmak Lubelski, a traditional Polish meat stew recipe, showcases raw meat sizzling in a frying pan on a stove.

Part IV-Fry the Pork

Throw the fried beef into the pot with water. Using the same pan, fry the pork for about 5 minutes, mixing from time to time.

Part V- Add Bacon

Next, dice 250g (90 oz) of bacon. When the pork is fried, add it to the water.  Using the same pan, fry the bacon.

This is a simple recipe for fried bacon, typically cooked in a frying pan on a stove.

Part VI-Add Kiełbasa

Slice  400g (14 oz) of kiełbasa into 1” wide slices. Throw the bacon into the soup and fry the kiełbasa on the same pan, until each side of the sausage changes colour to brownish.

Part VII-Add Onions and Garlic

In the meantime, finely dice 2 onions and crush 4 garlic cloves and throw the kiełbasa into the soup. Add 1 tbsp of oil into the pan and fry the onion with garlic for about 4-5 minutes.

A frying pan with a wooden spoon on it, used for cooking Forszmak Lubelski, a Polish Meat Stew Recipe.

Part VIII-Prepare the Pepper and Mushrooms

Cut 1 bell pepper and 200g (9 oz) of mushrooms into large chunks. Throw onion and garlic into the soup.

Part IX-Fry the Vegetables

Using the same pan, fry bell pepper and mushrooms with 1-2 tbsp of oil for about 5 minutes. Throw the veggies into the soup.  Cover the pot with a lid and cook slowly for about 25-30 minutes.

A pan full of mushrooms and vegetables cooking on a stove, along with a traditional Polish meat stew recipe called forszmak Lubelski.

Part X-Add the Rest

Cut 4 dill pickles into sticks. When the soup is cooked, add 4 tbsp of tomato paste, dill pickles, and mix.

Part XI-Season 

Season with paprika, marjoram, salt and pepper (if necessary).

A Polish meat stew recipe simmering in a pot on a stove, next to a wooden cutting board.

The best part is that Forszmak will taste even better after reheating!

FAQ About  the Polish Meat Stew – Forszmak Lubelski

Can I Use Chicken Instead Of Beef And Pork In This Recipe?

Chicken can work, but beef and pork are traditional for making Forszmak. If you want to use chicken, I’d recommend thighs with the bone in for the best texture and taste. You’d also want to adjust the cooking time since chicken cooks faster than beef/pork.

Can I Make This Stew In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Brown the meat first in a pan. Then add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. For Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 30-40 minutes. 

What Kind Of Mushrooms Work Best?

I recommend button, champignons, or cremini mushrooms. You could also use a mix of wild mushrooms for more earthy notes.

What’s The Best Way To Thicken The Stew?

If the broth is too thin, you can dissolve 1-2 tablespoons of flour in a bit of water and stir it in at the end. For thicker gravy, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream after cooking.

Polish Meat Stew Recipe – Forszmak Lubelski

Yield: 10 servings

Polish Meat Stew Recipe - Forszmak Lubelski

A Polish meat stew
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 9 oz / 250g of beef (sirloin, tenederloin, flank)
  • 12 oz / 350g of pork (shoulder, ham, chop, any other)
  • 9 oz / 250g of bacon
  • 14 oz (400g) of kiełbasa Polish sausage
  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 7 oz (200g) of mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper (yellow, orange, or red)
  • 4 dill pickles (ogórki kiszone)
  • 4 tbsps of tomato paste (concentrate)
  • 2 tbsps of all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 tbsps of oil
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of marjoram
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 ½ quarts / 1 ½ litres / 6 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Pour water into a large pot. Add allspice berries and bay leaves and start cooking.
  2. Take a large pan/wok. You will need it to fry meat and veggies.
  3. Dice beef, sprinkle it with salt ( tsp) and pepper ( tsp), then coat in 1 tbsp of flour.
  4. Fry beef in 1 tbsp of oil, 3 minutes on each side.
  5. In the meantime, dice pork, sprinkle with salt ( tsp) and pepper ( tsp), then coat in 1 tbsp of flour.
  6. Throw fried beef into the pot with water.
  7. Using the same pan, fry pork for about 5 minutes, mixing from time to time.
  8. In the meantime, dice bacon.
  9. When the pork is fried, add it to the water.
  10. Using the same pan, fry bacon.
  11. In the meantime, slice kiełbasa into 1'' wide slices.
  12. Throw bacon into the soup.
  13. Fry kiełbasa on the same pan, until each side of the sausage change the color to brownish.
  14. In the meantime, finely dice onion and crush the garlic.
  15. Throw kiełbasa into the soup.
  16. Add 1 tbsp of oil into the pan and fry onion with garlic for about 4-5 minutes.
  17. In the meantime, cut bell pepper and mushrooms into large chunks.
  18. Throw onion and garlic into the soup.
  19. Using the same pan, fry bell pepper and mushrooms with 1-2 tbsp of oil for about 5 minutes.
  20. Throw veggies into the soup.
  21. Cover the pot with a lid and cook slowly for about 25-30 minutes.
  22. In the meantime, cut dill pickles into sticks.
  23. When the soup is cooked, add tomato paste, dill pickles, and mix.
  24. Season with paprika, marjoram, salt and pepper (if necessary).

Notes

  1. You may use just beef or just pork. Just make sure you will use 21 oz (600g) of raw meat in total.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 628Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 1577mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 36g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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