Russian Cuisine

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  CHICKEN STOCK

Ingredients

1 chicken (3-31/2 pounds)
1 pound beef or veal marrow and knuckle bones
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon dill seeds tied in a cheesecloth bag
1 medium onion
1 leek (white part only)
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium parsley root, peeled
1 2-inch cube celery root
1 bunch parsley leaves, tied with kitchen string
2-3 boiling potatoes (optional
11/2 teaspoons salt ( or more to taste)
1-2 whole cloves, or 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2-3 egg whites
fresh dill, or dill and parsley
Any 1 of the following: Cooked vegetables, sliced or grated: carrots, parsley root, celery root, cauliflower, new potatoes, green peas, string beans


Method
PARBOILING THE MEAT AND BONES; DEGREASING AND SKIMMING THE STOCK In a 7- to 8-quart stockpot (a tall pot with a 7- to 8-inch diameter is preferable), place the meat and bones with 2 quarts of cold water. With a thin wooden stick, measure the level of water and make a mark on the stick, then add 1 quart more of cold water. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil, cook for 1 minute, remove the pot from the heat, and, with a fine-mesh skimmer or a large spoon, skim off the foam. Repeat the boiling and skimming two more times. Lift the meat with a fork and, holding it over the pot, ladle stock over it to rinse it off. Place the meat in a large bowl. Rinse the bones the same way and add to the meat. Using a fine sieve or a colander lined with 3-4 layers of dampened cheesecloth, strain the broth over the meat. Wash and dry the stockpot to remove all residue for a clear stock. ADDING THE VEGETABLES AND COOKING THE STOCK Return the meat, bones, and stock to the pot. Add the vegetables, 1 l/2 teaspoons of salt, and the cloves, and bring to a boil. Carefully shift the pot so that three-quarters of the bottom surface is on the burner, lower the heat, and cook, partially covered. Remove the potatoes after 30 minutes and the remaining vegetables after 1 hour and discard. Cook the stock for a total of 1 l/2-2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the liquid has boiled down to the level marked on the stick. If the stock has not reduced enough but the meat is done, remove it and continue to simmer the stock until the liquid has reached the desired level. ADDING COLOR TO STOCK (optional) At this point, you may wish to add more color to the stock. Ladle about 1/2 cup of stock into a glass. If it is not dark enough, place the 1/2 cup stock and onion skins in a small saucepan, adding another l-l 1/2 cups of stock, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until deep golden in color. Strain back into the stock. SKIMMING, DEGREASING, AND STRAINING THE STOCK After the stock has finished cooking, and with one-quarter of the bottom surface of the pot still off the heat (the scum and fat will tend to collect on this side), skim off all the fat and foam with the skimmer or spoon. The best way to degrease stock that will be used for consomme is to cool and then refrigerate it; the congealed fat can then be removed easily. Place a colander lined with 3-4 layers of dampened cheesecloth over a clean pot and strain the soup through it. CLARIFYING THE STOCK (optional) If the stock is not clear enough, it can be further clarified with egg whites. Place the pot with the strained stock over the heat and bring to a simmer. With a whisk, beat the egg whites until they are foamy and light in color and add them gradually to the stock, stirring constantly. Bring the stock to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the stock to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, scoop out the egg whites with a slotted spoon or a skimmer, and strain the stock again through a colander lined with 3-4 layers of dampened cheesecloth. TO SERVE Bring the stock to a boil and taste for salt. Add the garnish and ladle into heated soup bowls. Serve with the accompaniment of your choice. IMPORTANT: Before adding the vegetables, quarter them and brown in 2 table- spoons of butter for about 10 minutes. Drain and add to the chicken stock together with the dill seeds. Simmer for up to I hour, or until the chicken is tender; remove it and continue to let the stock simmer until the liquid reaches the desired level (with the vegetables removed but with the chicken returned temporarily to the pot). Serve and garnish as for other stocks.

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  GREEN SHCHI (SORREL AND SPINACH SOUP)

Ingredients

1 pound beef short ribs
2 onions
1 leek (white part only)
1 carrot
1 parsley root
2 ounces celery root
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 potatoes
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound sorrel, or 1 pound endive plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pound spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
¼ cup heavy cream
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced


Method
Place the meat, onions, leek, carrot, and parsley and celery roots in a 4- to 5-quart pot, add 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat and reserve for another use, strain the stock, discarding the vegetables, and skim the fat. Peel and cut each potato into 6 cubes and add to the soup. Add salt, if necessary, and pepper, cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. The soup can be cooked ahead of time to this point. Just before serving, heat the soup and prepare the sorrel and spin- ach: discard the stalks and withered leaves, wash thoroughly, and finely chop the leaves. Add to the soup, bring to a boil, then remove from the heat immediately. Add the dill and scallions, pour the shchi into a warmed tureen, and stir in the heavy cream. Garnish each serving with a few slices of egg.

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  KIDNEY AND PICKLE SOUP

Ingredients

1 pound veal or beef kidneys, or 1 pound chicken giblets
1 carrot
1 parsley root
2 ounces celery root
1 onion
1 teaspoon salt plus additional salt to taste
6 whole black peppercorns, tied in a cheesecloth bag with 2 bay leaves
3 potatoes
3 tablespoons long-grain rice
3 delicatessen sour pickles, coarsely grated
6 teaspoons sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or parsley


Method
To prepare the kidneys, remove their fat and membrane, cut in half, cover with cold water, and let soak for 6 hours, changing the water every 2 hours. Discard the last water. While the kidneys are soaking, cut the carrot, parsley and celery roots, and onion into julienne strips. In a 4-quart pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the kidneys (or the giblets, if you are using them), julienned vegetables, 1 teaspoon salt, and the peppercorns and bay leaves, and bring to a boil again. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into 1- inch cubes. Strain the stock, discarding the vegetables. Cut the kidneys into Y4-inch slices and return to the stock, adding the potatoes and rice. Cook slowly, partially covered, for 20 minutes, then add the pickles and simmer 5 minutes more. Turn off the heat, cover completely, and allow the flavors to mingle for 5 minutes. Blend the sour cream with 1 cup of soup and stir it back into the pot, then taste for seasoning. Serve in a warmed tureen, sprinkled with tarragon.

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  POTATO SOUP

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
1 carrot
1 parsley root
2 ounces celery root
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
6 slices bacon, cut into l-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into julienne strips
1 cup Polish smoked sausage, diced


Method
Place the first 7 ingredients in a 4- to 5-quart pot, add 2 quarts of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Remove the potatoes and discard the other vegetables and the spices. Mash 2 potato halves thoroughly and cut the other 6 into 3/4-inch cubes. In a skillet, saute the bacon slowly until golden, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper toweling. Saute the onion in the bacon fat until golden, add the sausage, and saute for 3 minutes more, stirring continuously. Bring the potato stock to a boil, add the mashed and diced potatoes, the bacon, and the onion and sausage mixture, together with any fat remaining in the skillet. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 5-10 minutes. Serve with black bread.

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  POTATO SOUP

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
1 carrot
1 parsley root
2 ounces celery root
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
6 slices bacon, cut into l-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into julienne strips
1 cup Polish smoked sausage, diced


Method
Place the first 7 ingredients in a 4- to 5-quart pot, add 2 quarts of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Remove the potatoes and discard the other vegetables and the spices. Mash 2 potato halves thoroughly and cut the other 6 into 3/4-inch cubes. In a skillet, saute the bacon slowly until golden, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper toweling. Saute the onion in the bacon fat until golden, add the sausage, and saute for 3 minutes more, stirring continuously. Bring the potato stock to a boil, add the mashed and diced potatoes, the bacon, and the onion and sausage mixture, together with any fat remaining in the skillet. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 5-10 minutes. Serve with black bread.

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