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Four-dish Russian menu offers some remarkable pairings.

Four-dish Russian menu offers some remarkable pairings

The mellow flavors of oven-braised brisket with slowly cooked vegetables and barley pilaf make these Russian dishes satisfying fare. Ingredients and techniques are familiar to Westerners, but some pairings on the menu--such as dill pickles with sour cream and honey as the appetizer-- may be surprising.

Together, these dishes create a dinner for 8. We were introduced to them at Bellevue, a Russian restaurant in Helsinki.

Pickles with Honey and Sour Cream

Oven-braised Brisket

Sauteed Parsnips and Carrots

Barley and Onion Pilaf

Vanilla Ice Cream with Brandy

These dishes cook with little attention, making the meal easy to manage. A green salad may be welcome, but it isn't typical.

Pickles with Honey and Sour Cream

6 large (about 4 in.) whole kosher-style dill pickles, quartered lengthwise

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup honey

Place 3 pieces of pickle on each salad plate; spoon 2 tablespoons of sour cream alongside. Drizzle honey on cream. Eat with knife and fork, pushing pickles through cream and honey. Serves 8.

Oven-braised Brisket

Place brisket slices on a platter and surround with sauteed parsnips and carrots.

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 center-cut piece beef brisket (2 3/4 to 3 lb.), excess fat trimmed off

4 large onions (about 2 3/4 lb.)

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine

1 can or jar (32 oz.) sauerkraut

1 3/4 cups regular-strength beef broth

Pepper

Parsley sprigs (optional)

Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a 5- to 6-quart ovenproof pan on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add beef; cook until well browned on both sides, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Remove meat from pan and set aside.

While meat browns, thinly slice onions. After meat is removed, add 2 tablespoons of the butter, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and onions to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very limp, about 25 minutes. Drain sauerkraut; stir into onions along with broth. Set beef on top of onion mixture. Cover and bake in a 350| oven until meat is very tender when pierced, 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours. Turn meat over several times as it bakes.

At this point, you can let dish cool, then cover and chill until next day. To reheat, bring to a boil, covered, over medium heat; simmer until meat is hot in center, 10 to 15 minutes (cut to test).

To serve, lift meat onto a board and cut across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Season onion mixture to taste with pepper; lift with a slotted spoon from pan (reserve juices) and arrange in a wide band in center of a large platter. Overlap meat slices on top.

Boil pan juices, unconvered, over high heat until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Carefully drain juices from platter into pan; boil again until reduced to 3/4 cup. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until incorporated. Spoon sauce over meat; garnish with parsley. Serves 8.

Sauteed Parsnips and Carrots

5 each medium-size parsnips and carrots (about 1 1/2 lb. of each)

7 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/3 cup minced parsley

Salt and pepper

Peel parsnips and carrots. Shred in long strips with an Oriental shredder, or coarsely shred or cut into julienne strips in a food processor or by hand.

In a 12- to 14-inch frying pan, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat. Add half of the parsnips and carrots; cook, turning often with a wide spatula, until vegetables are tender-crisp to bite, about 8 minutes. Spoon into a bowl and keep warm; repeat with remaining butter, parsnips and carrots. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings.

Barley and Onion Pilaf

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons salad oil

2 large onions (about 1 1/2 lb.), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups pearl barley, rinsed

3 1/4 cups regular-strength beef broth

Salt and pepper

Parsley springs (optional)

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt butter in oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until limp and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Mix in barley and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until broth is absorbed and barley is tender to bite, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley. Makes 8 servings.

Photo: Spoon shiny sauce of pan juices and butter over baked beef brisket on bed of sauerkraut and onions. Shredded parsnips and carrots surround meat; barley pilaf accompanies
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1987
Words:779
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