5 Delicious Polish Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in Eastern Europe the way North Americans do (Canada also celebrates but on the second Monday in October), but many of the same foods typically associated with this holiday are enjoyed year-round by Eastern Europeans.

While not a dinner centered around native Americans and pilgrims, most Eastern European countries have some type of harvest festival or "giving thanks for the grain." It is spelled variously Obzhynky in Ukrainian, Obzhinki in Russian, Dożynki in Polish, Prachystaya in Belarusian, Dožínky in Czech, and so on. Jews have the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot and Shavuot which are harvest festivals and an opportunity to give thanks for bountiful blessings and the receiving of the Torah.

Shake things up a bit and try one of these Eastern European recipes at your Thanksgiving feast this year.

  • 01 of 05

    Easy Pan-Roasted Filet of Duck

    Duck

    Annabelle Breakey / Getty Images

    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.

  • 02 of 05

    Rutabaga-Potato Mash Recipe

    Easy Mashed Rutabagas

    The Spruce

    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.

  • 03 of 05

    Root Vegetables Recipe

    close up of vegetables in root vegetable stew

    Kypros / Getty Images

    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.

  • 04 of 05

    Creamed Pumpkin

    Creamed Pumpkin

    Tara Fisher / "The Viennese Kitchen"

    This creamy side dish combines pumpkin, onion, sour cream and dill. It's not something you see every day. Polish pumpkins are naturally very sweet. If yours is on the bland side, add a little sugar to brighten the flavor.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Potato Bread

    Potato bread
    StockFood / Getty Images

    Polish potato bread is firm enough to accommodate sandwiches made of leftover turkey and cranberry sauce without falling apart. And its flavor won't compete with the meat the way rye bread would.