By Ernest Barteldes
It is interesting how you can stumble into things at times. I was doing some research on Lenten customs around the world after someone asked me about how Lent- the forty-day period of fasting and prayer observed to a higher or lesser degree by Roman Catholics around the world, and as I went through different pages I came across a recipe for Kulebiak, a Polish pie made with rice, eggs, onion, dill, salmon and puff pastry that was described as commonly served not only during this period but also during the Christmas Vigil, when Poles abstain from red meat until after midnight on Christmas Day.
Investigating further I discovered many other recipes – including a meat-free version that included mushrooms and cabbage instead of fish. I asked Renata about it but she was unfamiliar with it, so I am assuming (correct me if I am wrong, please) it is a more regional delicacy – there are several dishes made in different regions that don’t exist in other regions. For instance, I have never seen oscypek – a unique kind of smoked sheep milk cheese – outside the country’s southernmost region.
The curiosity about Kulebiak got the best of me and I decided to try it out for our Friday dinner – those who follow this blog are aware of the fact that whenever Renata and I stay in Fridays I make a fish-based meal, which stems from the old Catholic tradition of not eating red meat on that day of the week. The ingredients were quite easy to find (I mostly shop at Trader Joe’s, where you can usually find things other supermarkets don’t usually stock) and quickly assembled it – which wasn’t hard at all – a myth that goes around a lot is how labor-intensive Polish cooking can be (more about that in some other post).
When Renata got home, she immediately commented on how the smell of the food was all over the apartment – and we set out to try it with a simple green salad on the side. I paired the Kulebiak with sauvignon blanc (which I purchased with the intent of pairing with the dish).
The result was surprising: the blend of the ingredients worked just right, and the puff pastry complemented by locking in the flavors and also giving its own unique feel. This will certainly be in our rotation, and I cannot wait to try out the other varieties.
Salmon Pie – Kulebiak z Lososiem
Source: In Ania’s Kitchen
- 400 g salmon
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- 2 tbs chopped fresh baby dill
- 2 tbs lemon
- 200 g cooked rice
- half of a large onion
- 450 g puff pastry
- salt and pepper
- egg for egg wash
- Chop the onion finely and fry on couple of tbs of oil until tender.
- Add cooked rice, baby dill and lemon juice. Give it a good stir and take off the heat.
- Chop the eggs finely and set aside.
- Cut the salmon in bite size pieces.
- On the lightly floured surface roll out half of your puff pastry a bit, you want it around 2 mm thick. Line your pie dish with the puff pastry and transfer the rice.
- Even it out, season with salt and pepper and then arrange the salmon. Season with salt and pepper and lastly put the egg layer and season as well.
- Brush the edges with egg wash to seal the pie.
- Roll out the second half of the pasty and cover the pie, cut some holes or prick with a fork before baking.
- Brush the top with an egg wash and bake in preheated oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400F) for 45 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil if browning too much.
- Let it cool down a bit and serve.