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RYBA W SOSIE CHRZANOWYM

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 parsley root
1 onion, quartered
5 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 t salt
6 cups water
2 lb fish fillets (carp, sole, pike or similar fillets)

3 T butter
3 T flour
3/4 cup horseradish, cream-style
1 t sugar
1/4 t salt
2/3 C sour cream
2 eggs, hard-cooked, peeled and sieved

Combine vegetables, dry seasonings and water in a saucepan or pot.
Bring to a boil; simmer 20 minutes, then strain.

Cook fish in the strained vegetable stock 6 to 10 minutes, or until
fish flakes easily. Remove fish from stock. Arrange on serving
platter and cover with plastic wrap. Chill. Strain fish stock and
reserve 3/4 cup for horseradish sauce; cool.

For horseradish sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, then blend
in flour until smooth, making what the French would call a roux.
Add the cooked fish stock gradually, stirring constantly. Cook and
stir until the sauce boils and becomes thick and smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in horseradish, sugar, salt, sour cream
and eggs. Cool for 15 minutes. Pour the horseradish sauce over
the chilled fish and garnish with shredded lettuce.

Note: Fish in horseradish sauce -- This recipe is the first of the
12 dishes that make up the traditional Polish Christmas-eve meal,
which is eaten after sundown on Christmas eve. The Polish word for
Christmas eve is Wigilia (pronounced VI-gee-lee-ah). Its root is
like the English vigil: waiting for Christ to be born. At the end
of the Wigilia meal the family goes off to midnight mass at church.


Note: There are usually 12 dishes in a Wigilia meal to symbolize
the 12 apostles, though some families serve 13 because they include
Christ in their count. The meal starts when the first star can be
seen; this symbolizes the star of Bethlehem. Although The Wigilia
is meatless (Advent, the season of penance, continues until midnight),
it is still festive and delicious. The tradition of Wigilia, though
centuries old, is still current in Poland. There is no fixed set
of rules for what the 12 (or 13) dishes must be; the items in the
meal change somewhat according to location and availability of
ingredients.

Nevertheless, all of the dishes are traditional, and in addition
there are many traditions for the serving of the meal. For example,
some people place straw under the tablecloth to symbolize the manger
in which Christ was born. Most families set an extra place, for
the stranger who might be passing by. This is my family's traditional
Wigilia meal:

Fish in horseradish sauce
Pike Polish style
Pickled beets
Pickled herring in sour cream
Stewed sauerkraut with mushrooms
Christmas eve kutia
Almond soup
Noodles with poppy seed and raisins
Poppy-seed rolls
Christmas bread
Baked apples with red wine
Marzipan
12-fruit compote

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