Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in Eastern Europe but many of the same foods typically associated with this Western holiday are enjoyed year-round by Eastern Europeans. Shake things up a bit and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner Eastern European style! And with leftover poultry of any kind, try Polish cranberry mayonnaise.
Turkey is very popular in Eastern Europe. In Poland, young hens are used because they are more tender than toms. But in the West, where toms are bred for tenderness, this recipe will work for a larger bird also.
This recipe for roast turkey with pasta tatters, purica s mlincima, bears witness to Croatians' and Slovenians' love of whole roasted birds. Both cultures like to serve goose, turkey and duck with mlinces (MLEEN-tsehs), also known as mlinci, a stiff cracker-type dumpling that is reconstituted in boiling water and flavored with the roast drippings. They're known as "pasta tatters" in English.
In this recipe for Slovenian turkey fillets the Italian influence on the cuisine can be seen in the Gorgonzola sauce that accompanies the dish. Turkey, duck and rabbit are more popular than chicken in Slovenia, but chicken breasts can definitely be substituted for the turkey.
This recipe for pan-roasted filet of duck breast is fast and easy, and delicious when served with a honey-brown sugar sauce. Eastern Europeans love turkey and whole roasted birds, but this is a nice change of pace, and can be found at many of the upscale restaurants in Poland.
Raisin-almond stuffing is great with any roasted meat -- chicken, turkey, lamb, pork and game. Unlike traditional American stuffing, this version has no celery or onions.
Kasha -- roasted buckwheat groats -- is a favorite among Russians, Poles and Ukrainians and other Eastern Europeans. It's a winner because of its high fiber content and low glycemic index.
Rutabagas and potatoes are two favorite vegetables among Poles because they overwinter so well and winters can be very harsh in Poland. Here they are cooked in chicken stock and mashed with as much butter as your diet will allow.
This Polish pumpkin casserole recipe features potatoes and cheese would be a good alternative to mashed potatoes but, I know, I know, who can resist mashed potatoes? So make both!
Common root vegetables include potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots and beets. Their not-so-glamorous, but equally delicious, cousins include turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, and celeriac (celery root), and they show up on most Eastern European tables in late fall and winter.
This cranberry sauce is less gelatinous than its American cousin, and it gets a little zip from grainy brown mustard. If you like, add a jigger of red wine but, since this is a no-cook sauce, the alcohol won't cook out. Make two versions -- adult- and kid-friendly!