This month's Kitchen Trotter box is taking us on a culinary journey to Poland, a country I visited last year on a work trip. When I saw that one of the recipes was for smalec, I groaned - we tried this when we were there and weren't at all impressed. It's a kind of pâté, which we were told was a mixture of lard and pork scratchings, and it was as greasy as it sounds !
Here's the one we ate in Poland - admittedly, it was at an open-air event and the mass catering was not exactly gourmet ! (Click through for more of our Polish foodie adventures during our trip to Gdynia.) Having tried the recipe from the box, I can now actually say that I am a big fan, and the great dollops of lard make perfect sense when you make it right with hot bread.
The first thing to do is remove (but not throw away) the thick layer of lard on the top of the pot. It fills about the top third of the jar.
Underneath is the pâté part. Give it a stir to mix in any remaining lard.
Now, this is where all that thick layer of grease suddenly made sense. Use the lard to spread one side of your bread.
Fry the bread, lard side down, in a frying pan. When it's gone golden brown, flip over to toast the other side.
The Kitchen Trotter box also included a jar of horseradish, but we left this out as it's very hot and the kids were eating it too. A big jar of Polish gherkins is essential though !
Spread the bread with the meat part of the smalec and top with slices of gherkin.
It's definitely not a healthy recipe but it was very tasty.
*** Don't miss my country-by-country globecooking recipe index ***
If you want to try some more Polish recipes, how about Bigos, Golabki, Kielbasa & Polish Coleslaw, Kielbasa, Potato & Spinach Fry Up, Pierogis #1 & Pierogis #2 and Zurek - Sour Rye Soup