Cooking with Dried Polish Mushrooms
Wild mushrooms from the forests of Poland are a staple in traditional Polish cooking. Dried mushrooms are used to enhance the flavor of stews, soups, and especially Wigilia dishes along with fresh mushrooms.
What is Umami?
Umami is called the fifth taste. We all know the basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. It is a term from the Japanese word that means delicious or smaczny in Polish. Umami (pronounced oo-MAH-me) is associated with terms like meaty, savory, or rich and can be translated as pleasant savory taste and was originally discovered by the Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda in the early 1900’s.
Polish Umami Power!
Glutamate is the naturally occurring substance that is found in foods that enhance flavors. Fermented foods and processed meats have higher levels of glutamate and certain dried foods. You will most likely be surprised how many Polish food ingredients have Umami.
Polish foods with the big umami taste:
- Cured Ham, Kiełbasa , Dried Kiełbasa, Hot Dogs, Meats
- Ripe Tomatoes & Ketchup
- Dried Mushrooms
- Żurek – Fermented Rye Flour
- Bigos – Sauerkraut, Mushrooms, Meats, and Tomatoes.
- Mushroom and Sauerkraut Pierogi
- Beetroot, Mushroom, and Chicken Broths
Also, but not Typical Traditional Polish Food
- Marinated Anchovies, Anchovy Paste
- Parmesan Cheese
Dried Polish Mushrooms
Boletus edulis is the scientific name for our beloved Dried Polish Mushroom – Borowik. You may better know it as the Porcini Mushroom, Cepe (French), Steinpliz (German), Procino (Italian). The Borowik is the King of mushrooms, prized for its meaty texture and flavor. Dried mushrooms have a more intense flavor and 10 lbs of dried mushrooms are equivalent to 100 lbs of fresh mushrooms. That is why they are priced at a premium.
Another common Polish dried mushroom is the Podgrzybek Brunatny or Boletus badius also known as Bay Boletus. It is also a tasty Polish Forest Mushroom.
The best value are dried Borowik Caps, like the mushrooms on a string because they are pure Porcini. Sliced mushrooms contain the cap and stems; it is the caps that have the best flavor. Soaked dried mushrooms tend to be woody in texture so often they are chopped and added to recipes along with fresh mushrooms. In any event the broth from soaking dried mushrooms may be the best treasure, and is used to flavor many traditional foods.
If you don’t like the texture of dried mushrooms soaked in hot water, then you can use only the broth in your recipes. Additionally you can grind them with a food processor into a powder to ad as an ingredient for that added Polish Umami Power.
Learn more about cooking with Polish Dried Mushrooms and Recipes.
In Our Store for Christmas 2014