Roasted Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Uzbek Plov

Why not give a Central Asian twist to your Easter lamb roast this weekend? I took my Uzbek plov recipe, made some small changes,  and stuffed it into a leg of lamb. The resulting rice is soaked in meat juices, absolutely phenomenal! The proportions are somewhat approximate, as the weight of the lamb roast and the […]

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Lamb Shanks Ufa

My series of dishes named after Eastern Bloc cities and regions has taken you to Dubrovnik, Vojvodina, Telavi, and now… Ufa, the capital of Bashkiria. The Bashkirs, just like the Tatars who also live there, are a Turkic ethnic group. As I was browsing in the aisles of the NYU library recently, I realized that not only did Bashkiria release […]

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Pork Brains Telavi

Unlike some of my previous dishes questionably named after Eastern European cities, this recipe truly was inspired by something I ate in Telavi, Georgia. Against all odds, the deserted restaurant in the town center featured brains on its menu, and they were delicious! The whole dish has a very mild flavor and melts in your mouth, […]

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Crimean Seafood Orzo

When thinking about Ukrainian food, seafood is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. We tend to forget that in addition to its countryside and its heaps of sausages and potato pancakes, its pierogi and beet soup, Ukraine boasts an important coastline on the Black Sea — 2,782 km, second only to Turkey. A good […]

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Adjaran Khachapuri, or Death by Cheese

Wherever you go in Georgia, you can be sure to eat khachapuri at least once a day. These national cheese breads come in various shapes. The Imeretian khachapuri is a round pie filled with cheese, by far the most common. The Mingrelian one is similar, but topped with more cheese. The cheese is usually whatever is produced locally, […]

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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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