Although I am a quarter percent Ukrainian, my only connection to this is my last name. My great-grandmother had three boys, all first generation Americans, and so recipes from the Old Country and other priceless mementos were forever lost when she died as men generally do not care about preserving these types of things. So this week I decided to travel through my cooking to the Ukraine in honor of Eva. Hopefully one day I will visit my ancestral roots in person.
I started things off by making Borscht Soup. I must admit that I’ve been “mildly” afraid of this dish for years, namely due to its key ingredient even though it’s one of the country’s most famous dishes. I discovered however, that I had been afraid over nothing. While most versions of Borscht are made with beetroot as the main ingredient, in some countries tomato is the main ingredient, while beetroot acts as the secondary ingredient. Luckily I found a recipe in which the beetroot is of lesser importance although I know recipes that feature beetroot as the main ingredient are probably the more authentic ones.
1 (16 ounce) package pork sausage
3 medium beets, peeled and shredded
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 cup water
1/2 medium head cabbage, cored and
1 (8 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste
1/2 cup sour cream, for topping
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for
|1.||Crumble the sausage into a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until no longer pink. Remove from the heat and set aside.|
|2.||Fill a large pot halfway with water(about 2 quarts), and bring to a boil. Add the sausage, and cover the pot. Return to a boil. Add the beets, and cook until they have lost their color. Add the carrots and potatoes, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cabbage, and the can of diced tomatoes.|
|3.||Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until tender. Stir in the tomato paste and water until well blended. Transfer to the pot. Add the raw garlic to the soup, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Taste, and season with salt, pepper and sugar.|
|4.||Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with sour cream and fresh parsley.|
For the main course I made Chicken Kiev, a dish of boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around cold garlic butter with herbs, then breaded, and lastly, fried or baked. Although the assembling of the chicken was a tad difficult (the woman whose website I got the recipe from did say that making this dish would take practice), the taste of the herb butter inside the baked chicken was divine.
Chicken Kiev Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup flour
1 ½ cups fine dry white bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
8 Tbsp Butter, at room temperature
½ small onion minced
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup white wine
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon marjoram
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.
2. Add onion and cook until translucent (don’t let it color). Add garlic and heat another 1 minute.
3. Add white wine, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. Let the juice evaporate until ¼ is left.
4. Add paprika, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to medium/low and cook an additional 4 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, place in a small bowl and refrigerate.
6. Once the mixture is cooled, use a fork to mash it into the 7 tablespoons of butter at room temperature.
7. Add the chopped fresh parsley, lightly salt and pepper and mix well.
8. Form a log out of the butter that is about ¾” thick and place in the freezer.
How to Make Chicken Kiev:
Notes on chicken: use the smooth side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound chicken. Place chicken smooth side down between 2 sheets of wax paper over a cutting board when pounding.
1. Pat dry the chicken. Remove the tenderloins from the chicken breasts (if any) and carefully pound them to 1/8” thick.
2. Pound the chicken breast as thin as you can get it (about 1/8” to ¼” thick) being very careful not to to tear the chicken. It should be thinner on the edges which will help to seal the chicken and prevent butter from oozing out when cooking. Peel off the wax paper.
3. Sprinkle one side of the chicken with salt and pepper.
4. Cut the butter into 4 equal pieces.
5. Place one piece of butter in the center of the chicken breast
6. Fold two sides down over the butter. Fold in the other end of the chicken breast and roll up the rest of the way. If you have gaps in your chicken, use the thinly pounded tenderloin to fill them before rolling.
(Roll all 4 of the chicken breasts the same way)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrres F.
Heat canola oil in a deep sauce pot over medium heat until a piece of bread turns golden in 1 minute. You should have enough oil to cover the chicken at least half-way (1 1/2 to 2 inches)
7. Set up 3 separate dishes. (1) flour (2) beaten eggs (3) bread crumbs
8. Gently cover the finished chicken in flour, dusting off the excess flour.
9. Dip the chicken in the egg
10. Cover chicken with bread crumbs (gently shake off excess).
11. Gently place the chicken in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, then turn over.
12. Remove chicken to a baking dish. Once all 4 pieces are done, bake for 18 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
13. Drain on paper towels. Be careful of the first spurt of butter when the chicken is pierced.
And for dessert I made yabluchnyk which is Ukrainian Apple Cake, a tasty layered apple cake topped with struesel. The recipe was extremely simple and I would highly recommend this recipe for anyone in need of a quick to prepare fall dessert.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup cream
4 large apple – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
|1.||Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter an 8 inch square baking dish.|
|2.||Sift together 1 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in 1/2 cup of butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir together the egg with the cream and gently mix into the flour until a soft dough has formed. Press into prepared baking dish. Layer the apples into the dish overlapping, in neat rows. Prepare streusel by mixing the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.|
|3.||Bake in preheated oven until apples have softened, and topping has browned, about 25 minutes.|