Sunday, January 20, 2013

Galatoise Polonaise

Galatoise Polonaise is a mystery. It seems to be one of the few subjects upon which the Internet is silent.  Now, Polonaise means Polish in French. It is also a cooking term that refers to a vegetable dish garnished with breadcrumbs. However, this dish is not a vegetable dish, nor is it garnished with breadcrumbs. I inquired on where one may ask about dishes and recipes. If I get an answer before I finish this, I will share it with you. Perhaps some of you folks out there who are reading the blog may see fit to comment yourselves? Yes?
I think, but cannot confirm this on the Internet, that a galatine is something with layers. In his famous New York Times Cookbook, Craig Clairborne included a recipe for galatine of turkey. This insanely complicated dish involved skinning the turkey and stuffing the skin with various ingredients. Wikipedia confirms this.
Anyway, back to galatoise, which, first of all, requires an enormous pot, bigger than the one I had. I ended up having to leave off about a quarter of the ingredients, including all the cabbage because there was no room in the pot. This is sort of a layered stew, where the cook puts in a succession of what Bob thought were improbable ingredients including mushrooms and apples, (he thought they were improbable together.)
I have been looking for an excuse to make this for months. I virtually begged my son and daughter-in-law to have a tailgate party so I could bring this. No luck. Then, a friend's mother and mother-in-law died in the same week, and I thought I could bring this concoction to them as the New England requisite dish of food that neighbors bring when there is a death in the family. Bob talked me out of it. "A lot of people don't like sauerkraut," he said.
Then, we were invited to a friend's Inauguration party. Aha, thought I. This is definitely the kind of thing that needs to be served at a buffet. That way, those who like it can eat it, and the rest of the guests don't have to push it around their plates in a dispiriting way. My friend Mary Alice kindly allowed me to bring it, and now, it is upstairs cooling, having been taken out of the oven to await transport to the party.
Flash forward to the party. I try galatoise. In cooking, large quantities of liquids are released and  blend together in a piquant sauce.  The sauerkraut seems to have changed its texture and become smoother. This is a good dish, flavored by the various ingredients.  At least one of the guests at the party, a man named  Bill, absolutely raved about it. I was not in the room with the food, so I could not observe the reactions of other eaters.
Making it is a production. The cook has to fry the bacon, slice the pork, onions, frankfurters, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, apples and cabbage. Then,  all this has to be stacked up in the pot in layers.  However, on the up side, he/she does not have a lot of fancy, fiddly cooking to cope with. Just pile it all in the pot, pour over the tomato juice and pop it in the oven while you read the New York Times.
If you like pork with sauerkraut and stew-y foods, and giving a tailgate or Super Bowl party for a large group of people, this is a good choice. It is hearty without being heavy and will stick to your ribs on a cold night.

Galatoise Polonaise

1/2 pound thin-sliced lean bacon, cooked  until crisp
1 pound fresh lean boneless pork, cut into thin slices
1/2 pound smoked ham, sliced
1/2 pound frankfurters, sliced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 eight-ounce  bottle pitted stuffed green olives, sliced
3 to 4 tomatoes, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1  pound sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 juicy apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 white onions, thinly sliced
1 small head cabbage, sliced, parboiled in salt water five minutes,
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 bay leaves crumbled
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup butter

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Make an assembly line of the following ingredients; the bacon, pork, ham, frankfurters, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, sugar, sauerkraut, apples, onions and cabbage. Starting with one-third of the bacon slices, make alternate layers of the ingredients in a four-quart to five-quart  baking dish, leaving plenty of cabbage and tomato slices for the next-to-last layer and a few bacon slices to top everything. As galatoise is being assembled, season each layer lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle with  bits of crumbled bay leaves.
3. Pour the tomato juice over all, dot with the  butter, cover dish and bake one and three-quarter hours. Remove the cover, to brown galatoise lightly and bake fifteen minutes longer. Serve topped with sour cream and mustard sauce. Makes about 12 servings.

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