Classic Polish Cucumber Salad for St. John Paul II

There are two foods that I associate with going to visit my relatives on the farm where my Polish American father was born and raised - and Mizeria, cucumber in a creamy dill dressing, is one.  It was a staple. From most Polish families you will hear the same. As a classic Polish salad side dish it seems very fitting for the feast day of St. John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła), October 22. And it is super simple to make - a bonus for a busy day.

Mizeria - Polish Cucumber Salad

  • 1 large cucumber 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Peel cucumber(s).  Slice cucumber very thinly and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle slices with salt and let sit for 30 minutes to pull the liquid. Drain water from the salted cucumbers and gently squeeze to expel any remaining water.  Pat dry with paper towel.  

Mix sour cream, vinegar, sugar, and dill in medium bowl.  Toss cucumber slices in mixture. Allow the salad to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Taste, season with salt and freshly ground pepper as needed and serve.  Garnish with dill if desired. Serves 4 but is easily doubled or tripled. 

St. John Paul II, the Great, Pray for us!

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  1. Thanks for another great recipe. St. JPII has not been awarded the title of "the Great" by the Church and such appellations should be used cautiously in public fora. Moderns have a tendency to be presentists and follow the thought, 'He was a great pope, so he is *The Great*'. When in reality, we've been blessed with very many truly great popes, but only a handful have ever been honored with the distinct appellation of *The Great*.

  2. My polish grandma used to make this all the time...minus the dill. Takes me back!

  3. My Polish friend makes this--I can't eat cucumber otherwise but this salad never upsets my stomach!!

  4. I've had a bit of polish food, but never heard of this. It looks interesting. We just had pierogi, sauerkraut, and kielbasa for dinner at a fall fest! Happy feast day St. John Paul! Ora pro nobis!

    1. Can't go wrong with pierogi, sauerkraut, and kielbasa - classic Polish for JPII!

  5. Mizeria, so named, is the Polish version. As with many foods there are similar recipes in surrounding regions. This type of creamy cucumber salad is also seen in many other Eastern European cultures, especially those that are Slavic as well as Germany and Greece which border. Those borders have been fluid through the centuries. In regional (or family) variations, the cream may change to yogurt, sometimes onions or tomatoes or radish are prevalent. Herbs may be different. It is simple and inexpensive so many peasant cultures would have incorporated something similar.