Tag Archives: Russian food history

Tsvetaeva Apple Pie

On this day, 8 of October, 123 years ago one of the greatest poetess in Russian literature – Marina Tsvetaeva drew the first breath.

She was born in the intelligent family: her father Ivan was a famous philologist, art critic and a professor of Fine Art in Moscow University and mother Maria was a pianist. Marina Tsvetaeva begun to wrote here first poetry being a 6 years old child, her poetry was written not only in Russian, but also in French and German languages. Her mother was terminally ill with tuberculosis and that time was believed that a change in climate could help to cure the disease, so young Marina spend quite a long time in Italy, Switzerland and Germany; lately she studied French literature in famous Sorbonne University.
 Tsvetaeva published the very first poetry collection in 1910 on her own money..
 Russian Civil war (1917-1922) was severe time for the poetess and here own family. She rejected Russian Revolution and wrote the cycle of poems about the war, glorifying those who fought against the communists. While here husband joined the White Army (anti-communist), she had no support and lived in starvation with her daughters.
 In 1922 Marina Tsvetaeva left the Soviet Union and moved to Berlin, lately her family lived in Prague and finally settled in Paris. Unfortunately, living abroad didn’t made here life easier, they lived in poverty and were homesick for Russia. Tsvetaeva did whatever she could: began to write more prose because it made more money than poetry. Meanwhile, her husband and daughter were involved in NKVD (predecessor of KGB), and when French police interrogated Marina Tsvetaeva, she was shocked about news that her husband was a spy. Furthermore, police implicated here son in the murder of former Soviet defector.
 Finally, in 1939 she returned to Russia..
Tsvetaeva apple pie/ Slice
 Returning to the apple pie recipe and its name. It’s being said that such apple pie was served in the house of Marina Tsvetaeva and her sister Anastasia. Young Marina spent a lot of time with famous poets and writers on the literary evenings, and it’s been known that she served an apple pie to her visitors. I really want to believe that she really had an opportunity to participate and enjoy such evenings, where this tender and delicious apple pie was served. At least there was something striking and good in her life.Tsvetaeva apple pie (after the name of Russian poetess)

Tsvetaeva Apple Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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You can make the dough one day ahead and keep it in the fridge.
Ingredients
Dough
150g butter, at room temperature
250g plain flour
4 tbsp sour cream, 30%
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple vinegar or lemon juice
Filling
3 sour medium apples
1/2 lemon, juice
250g sour cream, 30%
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
100g white sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
Method
  1. For the dough, in a large bowl, add butter, sift  the flour and mix until mixture resembles crumbs. Add sour cream. Dissolve soda in vinegar or lemon juice and pour in the dough mixture. Mix to combine. Knead a dough a bit, shape into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Take the baking tin, grease it and line with baking paper. Roll the dough into the circle to fit the baking tin. Put the tin into the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  4. Peel (optional), core  and thinly slice apples, sprinkle with lemon juice.
  5. In a bowl, with electric or hand whisker beat sour cream with egg and sugar. Add vanilla, if using. Sift the flour. Whisk to combine.
  6. Take the baking tin with dough from the fridge. Arrange apple slices. Pour over the sour cream mixture.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 180C and bake for 25 minutes more. If the top begins browning too much, cover it with a foil.
  8. Allow the pie to cool completely in the baking tin. Then carefully transfer the pie onto the serving plate. Slice and serve with cup of hot tea.
The remaining pie cover with a foil and keep in the fridge up to 2 days. The pie will be even better on the next day, as the cream becomes thicker.

Golubtsi – Russian stuffed cabbage rolls

Stuffed cabbage rolls is a very popular dish in many countries over the world. In Russia, it’s called ‘golubtsi’ – white cabbage leaves stuffed with sautéed ground pork or beef and rice or buckwheat.
 Originally, cabbage leaves were stuffed with meat mixed with millet porridge and the dish was named ‘galushi’. But in 18-19th centuries France had a great influence on Russian cuisine, at least for the upper classes. Many French chefs streamed to Russian to work for royal courts, nobility and other wealthy families. Russian Golubtsi
 French cooking was so prevalent among the upper classes that there were not enough French-born chefs to fill the demand. Wealthy Russians began to send their serfs to work under French chefs in Moscow and Sr.Petersburg, and a few were even sent to France for their training. Some of these peasants were allowed to work in the city, provided they remitted to their masters the required obrok or quit-rent, which was a payment in kind or in money. Others were sold after they had completed their training. Count Rostov in Tolstoy’s War and Peace, for instance, spoke with satisfaction of paying a thousand rubles for Taras, a serf who prepared savory hazel grouse sautéed in Madeira for his daughter Natasha’s name day dinner.
 Thus, Russians were hooked on French dishes, and among which was popular a whole grilled pigeon, covered with a cabbage leave. The dish became fancy and well-liked, and soon was called simply ‘golubi’ or ‘golubtsi’ – from Russian word ‘golub’ that literally means pigeon. Lately cooks began to prepare a fake ‘pigeon’ – well-known stuffed cabbage rolls, which were cheaper and affordable for the lower classes.
Golubtsi - Russian stuffed cabbage rolls
Also, big thanks to Angie for featuring my post – red pancakes! I’m bringing these cabbage rolls to the super Fiesta Friday party! I know, it’s such a simple dish, that many of you have tried it already, but I hope you are tired of sweets and enjoy Russian comforting food. 🙂

Golubtsi - Russian stuffed cabbage rolls

  • Servings: 10-12 rolls
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients
1 white cabbage
500g beef mince (or mix pork+beef)
90-100g uncooked white rice, short-grain
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, shredded
1/2 tsp dried marjoram, optional
S&P to taste
Sauce
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 carrot,  shredded
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
oil, for frying
200-300ml water*
2 bay leaves
5-6 black peppercorns
S&P to taste
Garnish
sour cream, chopped parsley, optional
  • Sauce. In a large pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion and carrot for the sauce, cook for 5-6 minutes or until soft. Stir in tomato paste. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Cabbage. Discard the 2 or 3 outer leaves of the cabbage. Carefully pull off leaves one by one. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Immerse cabbage leaves and cook for 3-4 minutes. Using tongs, take the leaves out and transfer to a bowl. *Reserve the water to use it lately for the sauce.
  • Filling. Cook the rice fro 8-10 minutes in bowling water. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, rice, onion, carrot and spices. You can fry onion before adding it to the filling.
  • Working with one cabbage leaf at a time, slice off the thick outer rib near the stem end. Place the leaf, rounded up like a bowl, stem end closest to you. Spoon about 2 tbsp of the meat mixture, form it into a short log shape.  Don’t make the rolls too tight. Transfer the roll, seams down, to the pan with sauce. Shape the remaining rolls in the same way.
  • Pour in water – just to cover the cabbage rolls, add more if needed. Season to taste, add bay leaves and peppercorns. On a medium-high heat bring it to boil. Then reduce heat to lower, cover the pan with a lid (or you can use a piece of foil) and cook for 40 minutes. You may cut one roll to test it.
  • Serve rolls with their cooking sauce, sprinkled with parsley and garnish with sour cream, if desired.

Golubtsi

Pokhlyobka – The Old Russian Pottage

 Pokhlyobka is a kind of thick Russian soup made by adding flour, grains, potatoes or other vegetables. It is similar to the Britain Pottage.
 Long time ago, it was a main meal among poor strata of Russian society. Most of the time, villagers and peasant farmers cooked and ate vegetarian pottage, because such expensive ingredients like meat or fish were not affordable for them. It’s worth mentioning that meat was eaten once or twice a year; more luckily were farmers, who had lived near rivers and could caught a fish throughout the year. The dish was easy to prepare, and people could use the remains of the yesterday meal – chunks of boiled potatoes or cabbage, then add extra millet or buckwheat. The rich part also ate pokhlyobka, but it was significantly better and besides potatoes, contained the meat of duck, hazel-hens, and etc.
Pokhlyobka
 My recipe of Russian pottage is also without meat.. Definitely, a good piece of fatty pork or beef could makes the pokhlyobka especially rich, so if you’re not a vegetarian you may add it. But I suggest you to try the non-meat option, which is infused with aromatic spices, and delicious pumpkin and thick sour cream make the soup absolutely irresistible!
‘Acoulina cooked absolutely delicious koulebyaks, various pokhlyobki..kvas..soaked apples..’ from the Russian novel ‘Whites, blacks and grays’  by Ivan Lazhechnikov written in 1856.
Pokhlyobka - the old Russian thick soup
  ‘The dinner was absolutely delicious that day: pokhlyobka made from goose meat with wild onions, venison shashlik and slices of bear meat..’ from the Russian novel ‘Plutonia’ by Vladimir Obruchev written in 1915.

Pokhlyobka - The Old Russian Pottage

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
120-130g yellow split peas
3 small potatoes
300g pumpkin or squash
1 medium carrot, sliced
60-70g celery root, cut into small cubes
1 small onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped, optional
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves
1.2 l water
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
salt, black pepper to taste
fresh parsley, chopped, for serving
sour cream, for serving, optional
fresh country-style bread, for serving, optional

Preparation

  1. Wash peas, put in a pan, cover with water and soak overnight. Pour out the water. Cover peas with new cold water. Boil on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until peas are tender. Skim the foam during the boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the oil, add spices and fry them for a minute. Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery root and saute vegetables on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Peel and cut into small cubes potatoes and pumpkin.
  4. Add potatoes to the pottage. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add pumpkin along with fried vegetables, simmer the pottage for 10 minutes more or until the pumpkin is soft.
  6. Adjust seasoning. If the pottage is too thick, add more hot water and stir through.
  7. Garnish each plate with a dollop of sour cream and chopped parsley. Serve with a slice of bread.
Enjoy the old Russian farmer meal! 🙂
I’m bringing this traditional recipe to all lovely people who’s enjoying the FF party today!

Classic Beef Stroganov

 Beef Stroganov is a well-known Russian dish, which become extremely popular in many countries. It consists of fried beef cubes mixed with sour cream sauce. Various explanations are given for the name, one says that such dish was firstly appeared at the count Alexander Stroganov’s dinners, who was the Russian minister of the interior from 1839, the member of the state Council from 1849 and the governor general of Novorossiia from 1855. The sauteed beef was among other different dishes, which were served at ‘open tables’ when all decorous and presentable people could came in straight from the street and tried any meal.
 The first known Beef Stroganov recipe doesn’t contain onions or mushrooms, only floured beef cubes, which fried and sauced with mustard, bouillon (stock) and some sour cream. Thus, you may guess that it’s not the best recipe. The dish becomes much tastier and aromatic if you add onions and mushrooms (it tastes fantastic with cep mushrooms, even if you add only one), such recipe is considered now as classic Beef Stroganov.
Beef Stroganov

Classic Beef Stroganov

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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You can also serve the beef with buckwheat instead of mashed potatoes.
IngredientsRussian Beef Stroganov
500g beef fillet, cut into medium cubes
2 medium brown onions, thinly sliced
200-300g mushrooms, sliced (cep mushrooms or brown champignons)
2-3 Tbsp plain flour
150-200ml sour cream
2 tsp dijon mustard
2-3 Tbsp beef stock
butter or sunflower oil
sea salt, black pepper to taste
mashed potatoes, chopped dill or parsley, rye bread, for serving
 
Method
  1. To make the sour cream sauce, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream with mustard, add stock to make it more thin (it should be liquid like kefir).
  2. Mix the flour with a good pinch of salt. Lightly flour beef cubes from all sides, shake off any flour excess. Heat the heavy frying pan, when it’s hot, add butter or sunflower oil. Then sear beef cubes in 2 or 3 batches, so you don’t overcrowd the pan and steam the meat. Cook for 2-3 muntes or just until browned. Transfer to the plate.
  3. In the same frying pan (reduce the heat to medium), add a knob of butter, mushrooms and onions. Fry onion until it’s soft. Then add fried meat, season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, you need to warm the meat mixture for 2-3 minutes. Now add the sauce, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with lid and let it rest for few minutes.
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes, sprinkle with dill or parsley. Enjoy!
You can keep the dish in the fridge up to 1-2 days. Keep the fried meat and sour cream sauce separate in the different containers. Just mix it together and rewarm before serving (but don’t let the sauce bubble).

Pozharsky kotleti

Hey-hey! How is the weekend going on? I’m glad to join Fiesta Friday party this time! And share famous Russian recipe – Pozharsky kotleti, which are chicken cutlets, scrumptious and tender. Hope, you will love it and recreate at home! 🙂
 Firstly, I’d like to tell you how the recipe became popular. It’s dating back to the late 18th or early 19th centuries. There are two history versions of the recipe. The first one says about Evdokim Pozharsky, who lived in small town Torzhok with his family; he was an ordinary person and owner of small tavern, but he bore the same family name with famous Russian imperial family Pozharsky. During that time the town was very important because it’s located on the highway from Moscow to St.Petersburg.
 Dariya Pozharsky inherited the tavern from her father; she started to cook cutlets from chopped meat (chicken, turkey, hazel hens), and decided to add this dish to the menu. The legend says, that one day the Russian Emperor Nikolay I was passing by the town and stopped to have a rest and food. He tried cutlets and was so impressed by this dish, that immediately invited Ms.Dariya to St.Petersburg, where she became the lady of high society.
 The other legend says, that Nikolay I decided to visit prince Pozharsky; the prince wasn’t expected to welcome such important guest and prepare chic dinner, so he/his chef cooked cutlets from chicken chopped meat and bread (the only meat which was available in the kitchen). 
Pozharsky Cutlets

Pozharsky kotleti - Russian chicken cutlets

Ingredients

Chicken fillets 500-600g
Large onion 1
Fresh white bread or baguette 1
Warm water 80-100ml
Clarified butter or butter 50g (25g for onion frying + 25g for the meat)
+extra butter (or sunflower oil) for cutlets frying
Salt, pepper to taste
Method
  • Finely chop the onion and fry it in the butter until soft and pale (don’t brown it).
  • Cut off the crust from baguette, finely chop it and set aside.
  • Put 3-4 bread slices in a small bowl, soak in the water for few minutes, then squeeze a bit of water out.
  • Finely chop or mince chicken fillets, add soaked bread, butter, season with salt and pepper, and combine well. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Divide chicken mince into several cutlets (medium size) and coat with fresh breadcrumbs.
  • Heat butter or oil in cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook cutlets just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a baking shit and bake in preheated 200C/400F oven for 7-8 minutes.
  • Serve with your favorite vegetables and/or boiled potatoes and sauerkraut.
Enjoy!!!