KUTIA (Christmas Wheat with poppy seed)

Ingredients:

2 cups wheat grain (food stores have this special pearl wheat in food bins before Christmas)
1 cup poppy seed
1 cup liquid honey
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/3 cup raisins
4 figs (if desired)
4 dates (if desired)
1 tsp grated orange peel (our parents have for this especially fried in sugar syrup, 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 package vanilla sugar. It is better.)
1 Tbsp. sugar

Rinse wheat grain on the strainer; soak in cold water for several hours or overnight. Drain, and then put into large pot of slightly salted boiling water. Wheat must be well covered by water. It expands well while it cooks. Cover and simmer it until its soft, but not mushy. Stir it often, do not burn. Strain the cooked wheat and leave to cool. Stir it a couple of times, so it wont get stuck together. Place poppy seed in frying pan, pour water over it and cook it very slowly until water steams out. Dry and cool poppy seed. It should be ground twice (3 times is even better) with the meat grinder or blender. If using meat grinder, place some small bowl on the floor under the handle of the grinder. Some water from the poppy will still be dripping on the floor.

Slightly chop figs and dates. Pour the poppy seeds into a large bowl and add honey, vanilla, sugar, and orange peel. Mix it well with a spoon. Add cooked wheat, crushed walnuts, almonds, raisins, figs, and dates and then mix it.

Polish kutia is light in texture, but NOT like a soup (served very liquid in some homes at this end of the World wrong!!) If your kutia seems to be too thick, you may add about to cup of boiled but cooled water to the mixture. Mix it well.

Prior to serving, place some or all kutia in some nicer deep dish. One may wish to garnish with whole almonds or nuts.

In Poland instead of grinding orange skin, women cook orange rinds (removed from oranges and cut into quarters, then soaked overnight) in water until semi soft. They repeat the procedure of cooking twice (2 days). On the third day, they add sugar into the water and cook it together until skin is clear-like. Now pack it into small sterilized jars. This skin is added to liquid icing on Polish doughnuts. It can be used in some cake baking.

GRACE SAYS:

Here is an old joyful custom! Throw a spoonful of kutia onto the ceiling. If plenty of it sticks, the farmer will have a good crop that summer.