Mizeria: Polish Cucumbers in Sour Cream

Cucumber salad with a sour cream dressing
StockFood / Getty Images
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Plus: 60 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
72 Calories
6g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 156mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 142mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Polish name for cucumbers in sour cream is mizeria, literally meaning "misery." But this easy and delightful, cooling salad is anything but miserable. It is a great accompaniment to pork, ham, chicken, and fish, or as a tasty dish on a vegetarian buffet. It also fits in nicely at the summer barbecue—just be sure not to let it sit out in the heat for too long.

The name of this dish is attributed to Queen Bona Sforza, an Italian princess who married Polish King Sigismund I in the 16th century. Homesick for her native Italy where cucumbers were common, every time she ate this combination of cucumbers and sour cream it made her cry. Hence the Polish word for "misery," derived from the Latin miseriae, was given to this dish. 

For this recipe, it is best to choose thin cucumbers with small seeds (or the seedless variety) and dress the salad just before serving so the dish stays nice and crisp. Traditionally, vinegar is used in the dressing, but since it may thin the mixture out too much it is included as an optional ingredient, leaving the choice up to you.

Ingredients

For the Cucumbers:

  • 1 large cucumber (with or without seeds, washed, trimmed, and peeled)

  • Salt to taste

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • Optional:

    2 teaspoons white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped), plus more for serving

  • Black pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Slice the cucumber thinly.

  3. Place the cucumber slices in a colander and salt the cucumbers liberally.

  4. Allow the salted cucumbers to stand for 30 minutes.

  5. While the cucumbers are sitting, make the dressing. In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, sugar, vinegar if using, and fresh dill until well blended.

  6. Cover the dressing and refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.

  7. Pat the cucumbers dry.

  8. Place in a medium bowl and add the dressing.

  9. Toss with the cucumber slices.

  10. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

  11. Chill the cucumber salad until very cold.

  12. Sprinkle with additional dill, if desired, before serving.

Tips

  • For a pretty presentation, before peeling the cucumber, run a channel knife or fork down the length of the cucumbers to create shallow grooves.
  • Salting the cucumbers is an important step in this recipe that should not be skipped. Cucumbers hold a lot of water, which is what makes them so refreshing. But the water content also will make whatever dish they are a part of liquidy and soggy. Salting the vegetable beforehand will pull out all that liquid, leaving nice and crisp pieces of cucumber, perfect for adding to any dish, especially one that includes sour cream.