Polish-style charcuterie recipe


  • Yield: 10 Servings


  • 9-oz (2 x 250-g) packets of bean curd sheets/skins, dried or fresh
  • 2 litres/2 quarts vegetable stock
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of/baking soda
  • 1 small leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground rainbow pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 7-oz (1 x 200-g) packet of firm smoked tofu, cut into 2-cm/¾ inch cubes
  • 1 fresh beetroot/beet, boiled, peeled and diced
  • 1 red (bell) pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
  • 1–2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • handful of freshly chopped dill
For the Pickle
  • 1 cup (235 ml vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) Polish pickling vinegar (which has 10% acidity, higher than UK ones)
  • 1 cup (200 g) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 4½ lb (2 kg) white cabbage, quartered and finely sliced
  • 35 oz (1 kg) carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 35 oz (1 kg) cucumber, deseeded and thickly grated
  • 18 oz (500 g) onions, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 red (bell) pepper, coarsely grated
  • 1 yellow (bell) pepper, coarsely grated
  • 1 orange (bell) pepper, coarsely grated
  • 1 bunch of dill, roughly chopped
How to Make It
  1. To make the 'ham', crumble the bean curd sheets into a large pan and add the stock. Bring to the boil and add the baking soda. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, add the leek to a lightly oiled frying pan/skillet and cook over a medium heat for 10–12 minutes. Once softened but not browned, add salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders. Mix well then set aside. Drain the bean curd sheets.
  2. Working in batches, take a large handful, squeeze out the excess water, then finely chop until pulp-like. Place in a large bowl and add the leek mixture. Mix well and, using the end of a rolling pin, pulp until well smashed. Add the smoky tofu cubes to the bowl of bean curd along with the beetroot/beet, (bell) pepper and dill. Mix well.
  3. If using a ham press, place the ‘insert bag’ in the press and fill with the bean curd mixture. Press down firmly so the press is half-filled. Fold the edges of the bag over the sides of the press, then place the press on top and affix the lid so that mixture is pressed down and is securely closed. Put the press in a large pan of simmering water, so the water covers at least ¾ of the press. Reduce to the lowest heat and cook for 2–3 hours. Use the thermometer to ensure the temperature is 100–150˚C/210–300˚F. Alternatively, the mixture can be wrapped in greaseproof paper and tied with twine, and then steamed for 3 hours.
  4. To make the pickle, add the oil, vinegar, sugar and salt to a very large pan. Heat gently until the sugar and salt have dissolved, then remove from the heat. Add all the vegetables and, using gloved hands, mix well. Cover and leave to stand overnight.
  5. Bring the pan to the boil while stirring, then remove from the heat immediately and fill the jar. Seal and turn the jar upside-down. Leave to mature for a few days. Once opened, eat within 1 month.

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