Lazanki is such an easy and economical dish to make and keeps great in the refrigerator for a couple of days, it’s no wonder I grew up with this dish and love it now as well. My children also ask for Lazanki pretty often. Lazanki doesn’t translate well in English, as the first letter is actually a letter not in the English Alphabet, which is pronounced like an English “W”, so the dish is pronounced “Wa-ZAN-key”.
This dish can be made vegetarian or with meat added, so I can imagine polish peasants from centuries past making this dish for a daily meal. Lazanki can be found in similar forms and with similar sounding names in several countries, such as Belarus, and the Czech Republic. Some believe it is originated in Italy and was brought over by Bona Sforza, the Italian wife of King Sigmund the Old, centuries ago.
Indyk, or Turkey, is not a common ingredient in polish food, as Turkey is native to North America. So, Lazanki does not typically have turkey in it. However, it is the week after Thanksgiving and I have leftovers to use. As an interesting side note, the polish word for Indian, or Native American Indian to be precise, is Indianin, and as an adjective is Indyjski, so the word for Turkey in Polish basically shows that the turkey is a specifically Native American dish historically, which makes sense.
Now, the history lesson aside, let’s make Lazanki z Indyk…
Some Leftover Turkey (I used about a cup chopped up)
About a ½ cup of Bacon Bits (because I keep that in my refrigerator, especially the week after Thanksgiving)
Some Bacon Fat (Every good Polish mother keeps this in her refrigerator)
Sweet Onion or Leeks, chopped
Small Head of Cabbage (You can use White, Red, or Savoy, which has a more delicate flavor)
Soy or Maggi Sauce to TasteNoodles (In a pinch, Bowtie Pasta works or you could make your own, I used bowties this time)
Some Fresh Dill, Parsley or Marjoram to flavor
Mushrooms (If desired, I used some of the leftover Mushrooms in Bacon from Thanksgiving, chopped)
Pepper to taste
While boiling the pasta, prepare bacon bits. In bacon fat, caramelize the onion. After removing Onions, add the cabbage, chopped until soft, adding a bit of water if needed to soften the leaves. Or if you are in a time crunch, you can boil the chopped onion in a separate pot while caramelizing the onions. Mix all the ingredients together in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until warmed throughout.