What makes Christmas Eve dishes so special is that they appear on the table only once a year. Even though everything turns around a few basic ingredients, every year we wait impatiently to finally savour them. For me, these are better than many of the gourmet Christmas day dishes, and frankly, I quite happily eat the leftovers from the Christmas Eve dinner throughout the whole festive period. Thatâ€™s probably why I tend to prepare more than enough of everything, especially when it comes to things that can be easily frozen and stored for longer. Nothing like croquettes with sauerkraut and mushrooms with some clear red beet soup on a cold winter evening! Yes, my love of the sauerkraut is definitely an acquired taste, and yes, as you might have gathered from the last few recipes around Polish Christmas Eve theyâ€™re all quite specific if youâ€™re not used to these kind of ingredients. For me, and surely many other Poles, thatâ€™s the taste of the magic of childhood, the magic of Christmas.
For the filling
350g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
200g sauerkraut, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 allspice berries
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the pancakes (makes about 12)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
Pinch of salt
For the breadcrumbs batter
2 tbsp flour
Rapeseed oil for frying
To make the pancakes batter, in a large bowl mix together all the ingredients for the batter, initially with a large spoon, then with a whisk. If needed, add some water, so that the pancakes batter is not too thick. Leave aside for 30 minutes. Then on a large frying pan, with minimal amount of oil, fry 12 thin pancakes.
Place all the pancakes one on top of another on a plate and leave aside until needed.
To make the filling, on a large frying pan heat the olive oil, add the chopped onion and cook until soft. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Place the sauerkraut onto the frying pan, add about 150ml of water, bay leaf, allspice and cook for about 20-30 minutes until the sauerkraut softens. Drain the excess of water. Stir in the mushrooms and onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper and leave to cool.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling on each pancake and roll into croquettes shapes.
Dip into a lightly beaten egg and then in the breadcrumbs mixed with flour and fry on heated rapeseed oil until golden.
You can also prepare the croquettes in advance and then freeze them after frying and cooling. When you defrost the croquettes, place them into a heatproof dish and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until hot throughout.