Polish Thanksgiving Recipes might be a misleading title. Thanksgiving as we know it in Canada and the United States is not a holiday in Poland. It’s one small bit of culture creep that hasn’t happened.
That doesn’t mean that those of us celebrating Thanksgiving can’t find a way to work a bit of Polish food into our menu. Whether you’re looking for an addition to your usual dishes or planning to totally revamp your menu entirely, I have a list of recipes to help in the process.
There are a myriad of recipes that would compliment an autumnal menu, but here are the top 11 Polish Thanksgiving recipes that came to mind. I look forward to hearing about how you work a taste of Poland into your Thanksgiving menu!
Polish Thanksgiving Recipes
1. Mulled Beer – start your celebration with grzane piwo, a cold-weather favorite, no Polish Christmas market would be complete without a glass of this mulled beer to warm the hands and the heart. Don’t let the name scare you. Don’t think of it as beer; think of it as a warm punch.
2. Red Cabbage – sweet and tart, sweet and savory, this is a dish full of contrasts and wonderful color and taste. It makes a big pot full, but it freezes well if you have leftovers.
3. Leek and Apple Salad – crisp, tart, apples are set off by the warmth of the leeks. This is a light and tasty addition to any menu.
4. Cabbage and Mushroom Pie – make this savory pie with your favorite crust. Sheets of frozen puff pastry make an easy and elegant option.
5. Pumpkin and Potato Kopytka – these tender little dumplings have a wonderful flavor and are perfect for mopping up your plate.
6. Pumpkin Pierogi – the post brings you 3 versions of a pumpkin filled pierogi, 2 savory options, and 1 sweet.
7. Cucumbers in Sour Cream – mizeria makes a cool and refreshing side for any meal.
8. Potato Cake – potatoes always make a yummy side dish. I love that this one includes a bit of bacon and kiełbasa.
9. Silesian Dumplings – one of many Polish potato dumplings. This one comes with pockets to hold the gravy.
10. Polish Sausage and Roasted Vegetables – a hearty option to serve alongside the holiday bird.
11. Cranberry Orange Babka – thin swirls of a tender yeast cake wrapped around a homemade cranberry-orange jam.
Thanksgiving bonus recipe – Pumpkin Pie – this is a knock off of Marie Callender’s pumpkin pie and not Polish at all. It makes tiny little changes in the usual (back of the pumpkin can) recipe, and those small adjustments make a world of difference, such a little richer, a little creamier, and adds a little more subtle, complexity to the spices. It was the first pumpkin pie our daughters would eat. They typically liked to hold out for chocolate desserts.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in Poland
This will an unusual holiday for most of us. I’ve found that Thanksgivings overseas are unusual too. To know that your family stateside is making all of the usual preparations: watching the Macy’s parade, baking pies, gathering together. While I was a little sad to be missing out on all the familiar rituals, we found creating new Thanksgiving adventures in Poland was just as enjoyable and memorable. We seemed to do something different every year. The 4th Thursday in November is an ordinary work and school day in Poland, so sometimes our celebrations were evening events or happened on the weekend before or after. I treasure all of the memories!
One year, Ed and his American colleagues took vacation days for Thanksgiving, and we all loaded into our minivan for a road trip to Malbork Castle, Torun, and Gdansk. We had pierogi for Thanksgiving dinner!
Another Thanksgiving, I did my usual bike ride around Malta Lake while Ed was at work. That night we had dinner with my bike riding buddy and her family, and I played around with making a colorful apple pie to go with her pumpkin pie.
Our last Thanksgiving in Poland we enjoyed multiple meals with multiple groups of international friends.
However you celebrate, I want to wish you and yours all the best this year!