Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Russian Tuesday

I just finished having lunch, leftovers from last night's dinner, and while trying to compose this entry in my head I realized that I really had no anecdotes or funny realizations to share.  We cooked meatloaf stuffed with boiled eggs and green onions, chicken soup with dumplings, and "Georgian" green beans -- sauteed with egg, green onion, a dash of red wine vinegar and a bit of cilantro.

Kuriniy Bulyon s Kliotskami

The soup was universally loved, Angel declared the green beans to be the best she's ever eaten in her life, and the kids were pretty balanced between thumbs up/down on the meatloaf and beans.

Farshirovanniy Rulet & Kverstkhit

Wait, I thought of something interesting.  Angel says we're going through more eggs than ever, and that she never realized how much of a staple eggs are for the rest of the world.

Okay, maybe that isn't quite as interesting as I thought.  ;^)

Dinner: Stuffed Meatloaf, Georgian Beans, Chicken Soup w/Dumplings


"My Mother's" Chicken Soup with Dumplings (Kuriniy Bulyon s Kliotskami)
1 jumbo egg
3 1/2 Tbs all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

5 cups Chicken Stock or canned broth
2 medium-size boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
8 baby carrots, peeled
1 large rib celery, sliced
Pinch of black pepper
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh dill (optional)
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
Finely minced scallion for garnish
Finely chopped fresh dill for garnish

To make the dumplings, break the egg into a small bowl, then add the flour, salt, pepper and dill if desired, and beat with a fork until smooth.  Set the dumpling mixture aside.  In a soup pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil, then add the potatoes, carrots, and celery.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, for 15 minutes.  Dip a teaspoon into cold water, scoop about 1/2 tsp of the dumpling mixture and lower it carefully into the simmering soup.  Repeat with the rest of the mixture, dipping your spoon into cold water before you make each dumpling.  You should have about 8 to 10 dumplings.  Add the tomato, increase the heat to medium low and cook until the dumplings rise to the surface, 5 to 7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with scallion and dill, and serve.  Serves 4 generously.

Stuffed Meat Loaf (Farshirovanniy Rulet)
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 slices white bread, crusts removed
1/3 cup milk
1 3/4 lbs ground lean beef round
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ice water
2 Tbs sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
4 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (green onions), greens only
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbs mayonnaise
1/3 cup unflavored fine, dry bread crumbs, or more as needed
1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp hot Hungarian paprika

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute' until lightly colored, about 12 minutes.  Meanwhile, soak the bread in the milk for 10 minutes.  Squeeze the bread to remove any excess milk and crumble into a large bowl.  Discard the milk.  Add the beef to the bread along with the onions and their cooking fat, eggs, ice water, sour cream, and salt and pepper.  Knead until thoroughly blended.  Set the meat loaf mixture aside.  In a second bowl, combine the hard-cooked eggs, scallions, and melted butter.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spread the meat loaf mixture out on a large piece of waxed paper into a 12x10 inch rectangle.  Spread the stuffing over the meat mixture, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.  Roll up like a jelly roll, starting on one long side.  Peel back the waxed paper as you roll.  Place the roll, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet.  Spread with the mayonnaise, using a rubber spatula, and sprinkle generously with bread crumbs and with sweet and hot paprika.  Bake 1 hour.  Cut into thick slices and serve at once.  Serves 6

Georgian Green Beans (Lobio Kverstkhit)
2 lbs green beans, trimmed**
Salt to taste
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1 large onion, cut into quarters, then thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbs canned chicken broth, or water
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 large eggs, beaten
Black pepper to taste
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Drop the beans into a large pot of salted boiling water and blanch them for 3 minutes.  Drain the beans and refresh under cold running water.  Drain again thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.  Melt the butter in a 9-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute', stirring occasionally, until transparent, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in the beans and saute', stirring, for 5 minutes more.  Stir in the vinegar, broth, garlic, and salt and pepper, and cook for another 10 minutes.  Add the cilantro.  Add half the eggs and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until they begin to set, about 2 minutes.  Pour in the rest of the eggs, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes without disturbing until the eggs are set.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.  Serves 6 to 8.

** Note in cookbook: "The green beans common in the Soviet Union are slightly different from the common ones available in the United States.  They are flat, broad, and fleshy, with young beans inside.  This variety, sold frozen as "broad beans," is sometimes available fresh at farmer's and ethnic (Italian and Greek) markets."  My note -- we just used common American green beans, fresh, and they were delicious.

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