Polish smalec (SMAH-lets) is made from rendered white pork fat flavored with onion and garlic, spices that vary from region to region, and sometimes chopped apple. Sometimes skwarki (pork cracklings) are added for extra crunch.
See Lard Is Better for You Than You Think, below, after the directions to this recipe.
In the old days, peasants ate smalec as a kind of insulation against the cold weather. Today, it's often served with hearty bread as a complimentary starter at restaurants.
In the old days, peasants ate smalec as a kind of insulation against the cold weather. Today, it's often served with hearty bread as a complimentary starter even at the most elegant restaurants.
It is often served in a scooped-out bread bowl or bread loaf and, in the mountainous Zakopane region, it is often accompanied by moskole, a griddled potato pancake, which is very different from fried potato pancakes or placki ziemniaczane.
Here is more about pork fat popular in Easter European cultures:
Smalec isn't unique to Polish cuisine, in Hungarian, it's known as disznózsír. Russians and Ukrainians call it (unrendered slices of pork fat), while Lithuanians say taukai. Croatians, Serbians and Slovenians say mast, Czechs and Slovaks say sádlo. Bulgarians say svinska mas, and Romanians say untură. And, of course rendered chicken fat is known as schmaltz in the Jewish culture.