Meat

Lamb and Pearl Barley soup

Hi guys, how is your foodie-life going on out there? It’s such good weather now here – in Dubai, I’ve heard that this year March is one of the coldest months of the past 10 years! Believe me or not, but I’ve been living here approximately the same time and it really seems colder than usual, especially in the evening or those very windy days, that even with the jacket on I want to go in and hide somewhere with a cup of hot tea. 😄

And this warm and nourishing soup exactly what I need these days. I’ve been enjoying it for the last couple of weeks, as I cooked it twice and both time in a large pot so it will be enough for at least two days. This soup combines Russian and Middle Eastern flavors and textures: pearl barley is a well-known grain in my home country, and lamb is a popular meat in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries. Continue reading

Beef Stroganoff with pickled cucumbers

 Beef Stroganoff is a definitely a classic dish, which can be make rustic and simple at home and more elegant in a restaurant. I do hope you have already cooked this dish by following the classic recipe, that I posted, and liked it. 😀 This time I deviated from the traditional recipe: firstly, I thinly sliced the meat (originally it’s cubed); secondly, used the thick cream along with sour cream; and finally, the main twist is the addition of small pickled cucumbers. Salty and crunchy, thinly sliced cucumbers give an amazing and unbelievably tasty note to the whole dish! I bet you will love it even more!Russian Beef Stroganoff with pickled cucumbers

Beef stroganoff is a staple and cooked very often in my house, so I just whip it up without a recipe in little time. The outcome is always the same – a satisfying meal with authentic taste! Of your course you need to follow few simple rules and you can be able to make the best Stroganoff like Russian cooks! You may use large pickled cucumbers, small gherkins or cornichons; crunchy dill and garlic are the best, soft or sweet are the worst. The best accompaniment is mushed potatoes or buckwheat. I hear you rice-lovers: use plain fluffy rice, but please do not use pasta or other noodles, it destroys the dish!

Beef Stroganoff with pickled cucumbers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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You may sprinkle beef with a teaspoon of powdered paprika, if desired (add it along with flour).
Ingredients
Mashed potatoes
1 tsp fine salt (for water)
5-6 medium  potatoes, peeled, cut unto chunks
1 bay leaf
50g butter
50ml warm full-fat milk (or a bit more, if needed)
sea salt, white&black pepper to taste
Beef Stroganoff
500g beef fillet (sirloin is good),  thinly sliced
some flour, to coat meat
2 tbsp oil (olive or sunflower are good)
15g butter
1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp dried thyme or 2-3 tsp fresh
6-7 small gerkins or 2-2 large pickled cucumbers, sliced
sauce
sea salt, white&black pepper to taste
Sauce
150g sour cream
100ml 30% cream
2-3 tsp Englsih mustard
100ml warm water, if needed
some chopped parsley, for garnish
 
Method
For mashed potatoes, in a large pan, bring slightly salted water to boil. Add potatoes and bay leaf, bring to boil again, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft and ready. Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, milk and season to taste. Mash it. Add a bit more milk, if the mixture is too thick.
  1. Lightly flour the beef from all sides, shake off any flour excess. Heat the heavy frying pan, when it’s hot, add oil and meat. Sear the beef from all sides. Divide into few batches if needed, so you don’t overcrowd the pan and steam the meat. Cook for 2-3 muntes or just until browned. Transfer to the plate.
  2. In the same frying pan, add butter along with onions, mushrooms and thyme. Fry on a high-medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly golden. Then add fried meat and saute on a medium heat for 5 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: in a small bowl, combine the sour cream and cream with mustard.
  4. Add cucumbers and sauce. Give a good stir, season with salt and pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes longer. If the creamy gravy is too thick, add hot water and stir.
  5. Serve with mashed potatoes, sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!
Beef Stroganoff with pickled cucumbers

Rigatoni with mini meatballs

 Pasta is always wanted and favourite meal in my family. One of the important thing – it shouldn’t be overcooked, then I add some sauce and voilà – super speedy and tasty dish is on the table! During this week I made these rigatoni. They look awesome and tasty, don’t they? 🙂 I also had some minced veal in the freezer, plus a can of whole tomatoes and fresh basil. You simply can’t go wrong with these nice ingredients! This flavourful and tasty lunch or dinner can be ready in a half hour or less. Enjoy!Rigatoni with mini meatballs

Rigatoni with mini meatballs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can also add a quail egg to the meat mixture, optional.
Ingredients 
250g dry rigatoni
Mini meatballs
150-160g veal or beef, finely minced
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Tomato sauce
1 shallot or 1/4 medium onion
1/2 tsp dried garlic (or 1 chopped garlic clove), optional
1 can of whole tomatoes (about 250g drained)
1/3 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp dark muscovado sugar (or sub with white)
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil, for frying
Garnish
some parmesan shavings
few basil leaves
Method
  1. In a bowl, mix meat mince with onion and all spices. Shape small meatballs – about 2cm in diameter. Place them in a greased baking tin and roast in preheated 200C oven for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat, add chopped onion and garlic, saute for 5-7 minutes. Add whole tomatoes, roughly crush them with a spoon. Add oregano, sugar, salt and pepper, and simmer on a low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes until it’s thicken a bit.
  3. Transfer mini meatballs in a tomato sauce, cover and simmer for 5 minutes more. Adjust the seasoning.
  4. Bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Add dried rigatoni and cook according instruction on a pack. Drain, drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Put rigatoni on a serving plate, pour over the tomato sauce with mini meatballs. Top with parmesan shavings and basil leaves.

Enjoy!

Moroccan lamb with peas

 Lamb is a very popular type of meat in Morocco and Arabic countries. This stew gets Moroccan flavours from a mixture of aromatic spices such as ginger, turmeric, thyme and cumin. Would be nice if you could find a dried lemon, it adds slightly citrusy aroma, or you can use preserved lemons which are widely-used in Moroccan cuisine. This hearty and tasty stewed lamb with aromatic saffron rice is perfect to share with you family! Moroccan lamb with peas (and saffron rice)

Moroccan lamb with peas and saffron rice.

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from “a little taste of Morocco”
Ingredients
500g lamb, cut into 3-4cm pieces
1+1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/3 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 dried lemon
200ml water
1/2 tsp dried thyme
100g fresh or frozen peas
2 tbsp chopped parsley or coriander leaves
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
salt, black pepper to taste
 
  1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add lamb pieces and brown all over; remove to a dish.
  2. Add more olive oil and onion, fry on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, spices and lemon and cook for a minute more. Add water, give a good stir, return lamb to the saucepan and season to taste. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to very low, add thyme, cover with a lid and simmer for 50 minutes. 
  3. Add peas, chopped parsley and mint, cover with the lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Open the lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes more to reduce the liquid a bit.
  4. Serve with saffron rice.
Saffron rice
180g long-grain rice
1 tbsp olive oil
300ml water
a pinch of salt
1/3 tsp saffron threads
15g butter
 
  1. In a saucepan, bring water to boil, add saffron, turn the heat off and leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Wash the rice, drain. Heat oil in a pan, add rice and stir well to coat evenly in the oil, stir-fry for a minute.
  3. Add rice and salt to the saffron water, bring to boil and boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to very low, cover with a lid and cook for 9-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pan covered for 8-10 minutes. Add butter and fluff with a fork.
Fes {Morocco}

Braised Rabbit with red wine, prunes and thyme

 I’m sure you know that Easter is on the way (Catholic falls on April 5 and Orthodox April 12), and you’re probably planning what to cook, or searching your notes with traditional recipes. I think some of you have a special main course recipe for this occasion, or may be it’s a wide range of recipes. What will you choose this year? An elegant dish or simple&casual? I think, with spring bringing nice and pretty weather, that you’re likely to be in the mood for something hearty and light! 🙂Braised Rabbit I’ve always been partial to rabbit; when I’m visiting my parents in Russia I’m always pleased to eat a rabbit stewed in sour cream. It’s always tender and delicious, of course because it’s prepared by my mom. 😀 Today recipe is elegant and great for a special dinner! I’d like you to try rabbit with prunes and thyme, braised in red wine. It requires few ingredients to be transformed into a flavoursome meal! Enjoy!Braised Rabbit with prunes, juniper berries and thyme

Braised Rabbit with red wine, prunes and thyme

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients
1 rabbit, 1.3-1.5kg
water
1-2 tsp apple or wine vinegar, optional
2 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
1-2 garlic clove, peeled, chopped
5-6 shallots or 1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
4 black peppercorns, optional
4-5 juniper berries
12-15 prunes, pitted
4 springs thyme or 1 tsp dried
150ml dry red wine
100ml or more hot water, if needed
sea salt and white pepper to taste
Garnish
boiled or roasted potatoes
sour cream
Preparation method
  1. Joint the rabbit, wash it and put in a large bowl, fully cover the meat with water, add vinegar if using, then cover with a wrap and leave to marinate for 1-3 hours. It helps to make rabbit meat more tender and get rid of any unpleasant smell.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottom pan on a medium-high heat.  Add the rabbit pieces and brown each side for 6-8 minutes or until golden colour. Take out the rabbit pieces and place aside. Don’t clean the pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add onions, garlic, peppercorns (if using), juniper berries, bay leaf, some thyme leaves and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until onion have softened. Add rabbit, pour over wine and scrape up the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Fold in prunes and remaining thyme. Season to taste. The liquid should come half way up the rabbit pieces. So, add some water, if needed. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid (keep a small slit) and braise the rabbit for 45 minutes. Now turn the rabbit pieces on the other side, adjust the seasoning, again cover the pan with a lid and braise for further 40-45 minutes. The rabbit should be easily pulling off the bone.
  5. Serve with sliced boiled/roasted potatoes, or rice. Add a tablespoon of sour creme, if desired.