Friday, January 31, 2014

Gourmet Dinner Club

Bialy Barszcz (Polish White Borscht)
One well known fact about me is that I love to entertain. Give me a reason and I'll host a party big or small. 10 years ago I started a dinner club with 12 of our friends. Then a year later I organized another dinner club with 12 more of our friends. Yes, for many years Dave and I were on dinner club overload. It's an absolute blast so trust me we don't mind! I titled our dinner club "Gourmet Club." Dinner Clubs have been around forever but each one is organized differently. Let me tell you a little bit about ours. The motto of our group is "Great Food, Great Wine, Great Times." There are six couples in our group and we meet every other month. So each couple hosts one time per year. The host is responsible for picking a date, selecting a dinner theme, sending out invitations and making the main entree. The guests are responsible for making one of the courses that goes along with the theme and providing a copy of their recipe. Each couple is also responsible for selecting a wine that pairs with their course. I could literally write a post that's a novel about about the amazing food, themes chosen and experiences we've had during the 10 years of our Gourmet Club. For example, when we started Gourmet Club with this group Dave and I were the only couple who had a child, today there are 14 kids total! In time, my posts will reveal more detail about our dinner club, as we meet every other month.
Mike and Heather our fabulous hosts in the center!
Tonight, Michael and Heather were hosts of Gourmet Club and their theme was Polish Fare. I was excited about this theme because my husband is 99.9% Polish (he says the .1% is Russian and he didn't learn this until a few years ago!). I am 100% Italian so much of our food consumption is on the Italian side, Dave always feels his heritage is slighted so for me learning more about Polish fare is awesome! I was the first course so I had to prepare either a soup or salad. I learned soup is almost always served at meal time in the polish culture, so it was a no brainer for me to choose soup.  I decided to make Bialy Barszcz, which is Polish White Borscht. It was delicious! Everyone's dishes were delicious! Here was our menu:

  • Appetizers: Bacon Spread on Rye Bread and Pickled Herring
  • First Course: Polish White Borscht
  • Main Entree: Polish Cabbage Rolls-Golabki & Pierogies
  • Side Vegetable: Mizeria (cucumber salad)
  • Side Starch: Potato Hash with Bacon
  • Dessert: Chantel's New York Cheesecake

We didn't go home hungry! Look at all that gourmet polish food!
Stunning Polish Table Scape
Bialy Barszcz (Polish White Borscht:

This recipe is taken from SAVEUR.


2 lbs smoked kielbasa
2 tb unsalted butter
4 cloves minced garlic
2 leeks trimmed and sliced
1 yellow onion diced
2 medium russet potatoes cut into cubes
2 sprigs marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup horseradish
salt n pepper
 1/4 cup dill
1 tb parsley
4 boiled eggs cut into wedges

Boil kielbasa and 8 cups of water in a 6 qt, saucepan. Reduce heat to medium low; cook to flavor broth about 25 minutes. Pour liquid and kielbasa into a bowl and reserve liquid. Return to saucepan to medium heat and add butter, garlic, leeks, and onion and cook until soft. Add reserved liquid, potatoes, marjoram, and bay leaf and cook until potatoes are tender. Discard marjoram and bay leaf; puree soup in a blender. Return soup to pot, bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk sour cream and flour in a bowl, add 1/2 cup soup and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into soup; cook, stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes. Cut kielbasa into 1/2 inch thick slices, add to soup along with horseradish, salt n pepper. Garnish with dill, parsley and eggs.

Food Impressions:

Dave: "Outstanding, rich and flavorful. Would have liked a little more horseradish."

Andrea (me): Although there are a lot of steps to this recipe I would definitely make this again, especially for the boys and Dave's family. I thought it was a fabulous choice for a first course. I think I would have made Dave's late Grandparents proud with this soup!

Everyone's overall impressions: Everyone ate everything last speck of soup on their plate. Heather said "This was sooo good I had to use bread to soak up every last bit." Coming from Heather, our host, who is 100% polish, I'll take that as a huge compliment!

*The other recipes from our dinner club will be added


  1. What a great post my friend! I wish we had all our years documented in this way! Here's to the next 10!! Love your blog and so lucky to be one of the many taste testers in your life!!

  2. Thanks Sheila! Throughout the years we have shared many fond food memories as well as other great memories. Yes, salute to 10 more!