Russian Recipes

Brewer's Borshch (Borshch "Pivovara")

Brown the beef in several tablespoons of oil and put it aside. Cook the onions and half of the cabbage (1/4 head) in the leftover oil until the onions are clear. Add this to the meat in a large pot. Pour in the beer, the beef broth, and about a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. I use Knorr's liquid beef broth extract and more beer rather than adding water. This gives more flavor with less liquid. If you use straight broth, cut back on the beer. Simmer this concoction until the meat is tender. It will take an hour to 2 1/2 hours depending on your cut of meat. Chop all the other veggies, and any others that you want to add. There are no rules, just realize that certain veggies will be done earlier than others. Carrots, potatoes and beets take about the same amount of time to cook (about 20 min., depending on how large the pieces are). Add remaining half of chopped cabbage (if desired). It will stay crunchier than the first addition. Skip this if you don't want this texture. The liquid should not quite cover all the veggies you put in. Add more liquid if you think it is necessary, but don't overdo it; this should be a very hearty soup. Simmer until the veggies are to your liking. Remember, the veggies will soften some as the whole mess cools down, so you may want to turn off the heat just before you feel they are just right. Add salt and pepper and minced dill to taste (I usually use a large bunch). This borshch is best if it is allowed to cool, and then re-heated just before serving. It also freezes well. Serve with sour cream and more dill if desired.

Lamb Shashlyk

Cut the lamb into one inch chunks. Take care to remove as much fat, gristle and fascia as possible. Mince the onions, chop up the fresh herbs, and squeeze the lemons. Put each in a separate container. Take a large tupperware container and put one layer of lamb on the bottom. Sprinkle this with salt and pepper, onions, fresh herbs, and lemon juice. Continue until all ingredients are used up. Press down. If the mixture is not completely covered in juice, top up with vinegar and wine (or beer) in equal proportions (a bit less vinegar if you use wine). Refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove lamb chunks, place on skewers and roast on a barbecue. Do not overcook. Serve immediately.

Previous two recipes by Michael Brewer

Potato Salad (Salat "Oliv'e")

Boil potato in the jacket, carrot with the skin on, cool off, peel. Cut potato, carrot, cucmber, eggs, ham (or beef) and onion in small cubes. Cut garlic very finely. Mix together. When adding canned peas and olives make sure to drain them first. The juice from the can can make your salad soggy. Stir everything together and add mayonnaise. Makes 4-6 servings.

Marinated Mushrooms (Griby marinovannye)

Use small mushrooms or cut larger ones into thickish slices. Mix everything together except the paprika, which should be added at the end. Mix up with mushrooms. Turn the mushrooms around every few hours - leave overnight in the refrigerator, or at least leave them to marinate for about three hours. (The longer the better.) Note: olive oil may get hard in the refrigerator. Before serving keep at room temperature for a few minutes and stir for the oil to melt.

Pancakes Stuffed With Meat (Bliny s miasom)


Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm milk (110-115 F) and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Let sit till "bulbs" appear (usually 10-15 minutes but sometimes takes longer). Add more warm milk to make 1 cup and gradually mix in 3/4 cup of flour. Wrap up in a towel and put in a warm place to rise. DO NOT COVER THE MIXING BOWL WITH A LID. Make sure the mixing bowl is big enough because the dough will increase 2-3 times. After the dough rises add the rest of the milk and flour, salt, egg, and tablespoon of butter or oil. Wrap up in a towel and let rise for a second time. Check occasionally. Depending on the quality of yeat and milk, the dough may take 1-3 hours to rise.

Preheat the frying pan at medium to high setting. Brush the pan with oil lightly. Too much oil on the frying pan may ruin the first pancake. Immediately after removing a pancake from the pan, put it on a warm platter or pan, brush the upper side with oil and cover with a lid. The inside of the lid should be wrapped in a gauze, any moisture absorbent cloth or towel. It will accumulate excess moisture from the pancakes. Note: covering with the lid and brushing the pancakes with oil will make them more elastic, soft and easier to stuff.

Meat Stuffing:

Bake, roast or fry chicken or beef. When ready, chop finely (the smaller the better). Chop onion finely. Saute in oil. Add chopped meat and spices. Keep warm for stuffing. If not being served immediately, wrap wach pancake in aluminum foil for warming up in the oven before serving.

Warming instructions: Preheat oven to 400 F. Wrap pancakes in foil and place on a rack for 10-15 minutes. Avoid placing pancakes directly on a hot pad. It may over-dry them. STUFFING SHOULD BE DONE WHILE PANCAKES AND STUFFING ARE STILL WARM.

Vegetable Spread (Ikra ovoshchnaia)

Fresh tomatoes should be peeled, chopped and stewed for 30-40 minutes on low heat (after bringing to boil) to make a sauce. In order to peel fresh tomatoes pour hot (boiling temperature) water over them. Pour boiling hot water over eggplant (it eliminates a possibly bitter taste of the eggplant skin). Chop eggplant into cubes, salt and put into well-oiled frying pan. Stew on low for 30 minutes, mix frequently, add oil if pan gets too dry. Avoid burning the peel. When the eggplant gets soft and decreases in size add finely chopped (best to grind) carrot, finelly chopped celery, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, black pepper, bay leaves. Mix cook for 20 minutes. Add dill, cilantro, parsley. Cook for another 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently. Serves 6-8.

Source of above 4 recipes: Natasha Gavrilina

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