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How to make the popular Polish side dish: ‘Mizeria’

Mizeria, a Polish dish featuring seasonal produce, is typically eaten in the spring and summer.

According to legend, the dish found its way to Poland in the 1500s when an Italian princess married a Polish dignitary. The princess missed the vegetables of her homeland, so she started a garden to grow cucumbers.

Crying from homesickness, she mixed those cucumbers with other Polish vegetables (like dill) to create mizeria (which means “misery” in Italian).

Despite the depressing origin, mizeria has been a Polish favorite for centuries.

Anna Zulkowski Sobor (left) and Monica Eng prepare the popular Polish disk known as mizeria. | SUN-TIMES

Polish cook Anna Zulkowski Sobor (left) and WBEZ reporter Monica Eng prepare the popular Polish dish known as mizeria in the Chicago Sun-Times kitchen studio. | Sun-Times Photo


Here’s what you’ll need to make the dish yourself:

1 large cucumber
Half cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly chopped dill to taste

Now, it’s time to cook:

1. Peel the cucumber and cut as thinly as possible.

2. Sprinkle sea salt on the slices and let them sit for 10 minutes.

3. Squeeze out excess water, then mix the cucumbers with sour cream, freshly chopped dill, freshly ground pepper, and salt to taste.

4. Chill for about 20 minutes, then garnish with more fresh dill.

Recipe courtesy of Anna Zolkowski Sobor

The Polish cucumber dish known as mizeria is plated. | SUN-TIMES

The Polish cucumber dish known as mizeria is plated. | Sun-Times Photo

Julian Hayda is a WBEZ producer. Follow him on Twitter at @julianhayda.

Hungry for Home shopping cartThis story is a part of the Chicago Sun-Times-WBEZ Worldview “Hungry For Home” series, which helps newbies navigate the many international groceries in the Chicago area. Learn how to shop at local Polish and Ukrainian grocery stores at WBEZ.