Eastern Europeans are meat eaters extraordinaire and, along with lamb and poultry, pork takes center stage. Nearly every part of the pig or hog is eaten, including the intestines for sausage casings! If you've never tasted Eastern European pork, you owe yourself. It's decidedly different from American pork, with a sweeter, juicier flavor. But the pork cuts found in the United States work just fine in any of these dishes.
01 of 10
This smoked pork butt recipe with potatoes and cabbage can easily pass for Eastern European-style corned beef and cabbage! A pork butt actually has nothing to do with the hindquarters of a pig. The butt refers to the butt of the upper shoulder (the lower portion of the shoulder is the picnic). This cut is also known as Boston butt.
02 of 10
This recipe for pork steaks and sauerkraut is a one-pot dinner that can be made in the oven or on the stovetop. Pork steaks come from the Boston butt or pork shoulder cut. If you can't find them, ask your butcher to cut a pork shoulder roast into 3/4-inch to 1-inch slices.
03 of 10
04 of 10
Rack of pork is also referred to as pork rib roast or center-cut pork loin. Since it comes from the rib area of the loin, it contains a bit more fat, which makes it especially flavorful. When the ribs are stood up and tied together, they are referred to as a crown roast.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
This stuffed pork chops recipe is typical of the type of finely chopped vegetable stuffing Eastern Europeans love. Mushrooms, onions, celery, parsley and toasted bread crumbs are the only ingedients -- no broth, no eggs. The chops are browned on the stovetop, then baked in the oven.
06 of 10
Breaded and fried pork cutlets are very popular at Polish tables. Boneless center-cut pork chops or pork tenderloin can be used. Often the bone is left on and the meat is pounded out.
07 of 10
This easy casserole recipe combines four ingredients Eastern Europeans love -- cabbage, noodles, pork and sour cream. Breakfast sausage can be substituted for the ground pork, in which case the garlic should be omitted and the salt reduced to taste. This dish can be made ahead and reheats well.
08 of 10
There are many variations of raznjici. Some use only pork, others use a combination of pork and veal, and sometimes lamb. The meat is usually marinated before being threaded on skewers (a great project for the kids) and grilled. If you don't want to fuss with making your own marinade, Italian dressing works in a pinch.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Kiszka (KEESH-kah) or Polish blood sausage is made by those who have access to fresh pig's blood. It was originally made to use up the scraps -- ears, snouts, organ meats -- after slaughtering a pig and was fleshed out with spices and some type of grain, usually barley or buckwheat groats. Today, as is true with Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple, it can be made with choicer cuts of pork, as I have done here.
10 of 10
I remember my busia, mother and aunts, making Polish kielbasa sausage every year for Easter and Christmas. It was an all-day job. The hog casings were rinsed and soaked to rid them of their salt, and the pork was cut by hand and stuffed into the casings using a metal funnel. The house was perfumed with the aroma of garlic for days.