Dill and Sour Cream Marinated Shad

I love eating marinated herring in Russian restaurants — except for the “herring under fur coat” salad, which simply looks gross. Sadly, I’ve never or hardly ever seen fresh herrings in stores, so I’ve never prepared my own. Things started looking up when I realized that American shad belongs to the same family and is […]

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Chicken Tabaka

Chicken tabaka is a Georgian dish prepared in a special pan with a lid, called the tapaka. A small bird (usually a poussin) is flattened and fried whole until brown and crispy on all sides. You can get some very good pictures of the process here (the site is in Russian, but Google Translate does a […]

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Blueberry Jam

Blueberries are mostly found in North America, but their cousins, bilberries, are found all across Europe and are highly praised in berry-gathering, preserve-loving Russia. The Russian Wikipedia informs us that in 1964, Soviet Union issued a stamp representing bilberries, and the Great Soviet Encyclopedia mentions that bilberry juice can be used for the dubious purpose […]

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Veal Dubrovnik

This dish is inspired by a recipe called “Veal Escalops Dubrovnik Style” that I found in All Along the Danube, by Marina Polvay — someone who has managed to both present a food show called Cooking with Elegance and pen The Dracula Cookbook. Her veal recipe distinguishes itself by an unusual technique: after preparing a sort of mushroom risotto, […]

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Deruny, Ukrainian Potato Pancakes

Deruny, Ukrainian Potato Pancakes

Most Eastern European countries have their version of potato pancakes, with small variations in the way you grate and bind the potatoes. In Ukraine, they’re called deruny, and in Belarus, it’s draniki, but the two are very similar. And they’re serious business! A Minsk native once explained to me that potatoes are the national specialty, and Belarusian cookbooks typically […]

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King Crab Ravioli, Caviar and Vodka Cream

King crab, caviar and vodka: are there any ingredients that better exemplify haute Russian cuisine? I served this dish as a first course on New Year’s Eve. Enjoy with champagne (just not necessarily the Soviet kind)! For the pasta dough, I am using a modified version of Gordon Ramsay’s dough recipe. Stay away from dough recipes that […]

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Wild Boar Bouchées

A bouchée is an individual basket of puff pastry, like a small vol-au-vent. The first bouchée was supposedly invented by Marie Leszczyńska, the Polish princess wife of Louis XV. The original bouchée à la reine is filled with mushrooms, chicken, veal quenelles and sweetbreads in a cream sauce. This iteration was inspired by a dish […]

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Blini and Oladi, Russian Pancakes

Blini and Oladi, Russian Pancakes

There are literally hundreds of Russian pancake recipes. The Bolshaya Kniga Domashney Kukhni by Svetlana and Lidia Lagutina alone counts more than 70! These recipes distinguish themselves by the type of flour or starch used (wheat, buckwheat, rye, semolina, potato), the raising agents or aerators present in the batter (yeast, baking soda, beaten egg whites, […]

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Partridge Breast and Dumplings in Tokaji Sauce

Up until the first world war, Hungary and Bohemia boasted several great estates for partridge shooting. Thousand of gray partridges were then exported to North America, making them one of the principal game birds here to this day. Although the only American partridges you will find in stores are farmed, a curious loophole allows the […]

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