Rotkohl

Rotkohl means Red – Rot, Cabbage – Kohl. It is a very traditional and popular way to serve red cabbage, and is usually accompanied by meat. This recipe is based on the one by Mrs. W. E. Richter from the 12th Edition in 1978.

  • 1 small to medium red cabbage, shredded
  • 2T sautéing fat
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large green apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
    Sautée onion
    Add cabbage, apples, sugar, S&P, and water
    Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes
    Add vinegar, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes or until cabbage is soft

Piena Darzenu Zupa

This is a Latvian dish found in “Old and New Recipes – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, Baltic” by Simon Bajada

The main ingredients are milk and seasonal vegetables, but it is generally served cold on a hot summer’s day, which is why it is called summer’s milk soup. Very easy and healthy.

Ingredients will vary depending on your region but the ingredients listed are

  • Milk
  • Potatoes, small
  • Carrots
  • Hipsi Cabbage (closest substitutes are savoy or sweetheart)
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Dill, marjoram, or parsley to garnish
    Chop your vegetables into size of your choice
    The main thing is to have your milk hot in a separate pot to not instantly cool your other ingredients when you add the milk. Other than that, you just stagger adding your ingredients based on cooking time.
    Add cabbage, carrots and potatoes into a pot with enough water to barely cover them. Boil gently until potatoes are nearly done.
    Keep simmering, then add hot milk, asparagus, and green beans
    Wait a couple minutes then add peas
    Cook until potatoes are done, then season to taste.
    Can be eaten hot or cold. Garnish with dill or parsley

Arancini

More information about Arancini and possible variations is under recipe as always.

Classic Sicilian Arancini – Steps: Risotto, Meat Sauce, and Breading

Arancini is stuffed risotto, classically with a ragù sauce, then battered and deep or pan fried.

Risotto – make sure is it thick and the liquid is absorbed properly for shaping https://food-heritage-archives.com/2020/08/10/risotto/

Meat Sauce

  • Onion sautéed in oil
  • Ground Meat – your choice
  • Tomato Sauce and Paste
  • Peas
  • White or Red Wine
  1. Sautée onions in oil then brown the meat
  2. Deglaze with wine, then add peas, sauce, and paste to finish cooking meat
  3. You want the sauce to be the same consistency or thicker as the photo below as you will need to stuff the rice with this. If you think it is too thin, run the sauce through a sieve and add more tomato paste
  4. Put on a sheet pan to cool quicker

Breading – dip in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs of choice.

  1. Put your risotto into one hand, flatten, and then add a heap of sauce. Cup hand to help shape into a ball, adding more risotto if needed to fill gaps. The size of a small lemon is perfect.
  2. Bread the arancini then let set in fridge for a good 1/2 hour at least. They are great to make ahead of time and then fry when you’re ready.

Frying

  • You oil should be in the the range of 350F if deep frying, but pan fry like any other food, rotating it as needed

Serving – It goes great with tomato sauce and some arugula. You can top with crispy bacon and mozzarella or try multiple cheeses to find your favorite.

More About Arancini, and variations

Arancini has been around for at least 1,000 years, so there have been many variations throughout the years, a very classic Italian way is this Sicilian style. Although most arancini you find in recipes or restaurants is strictly cheese-based, it traditionally has meat, and cheese is optional.

Good variations to do will be to actually add cheeses inside, such as half a small marinated mozzarella ball, or fontina.

A good option for the meat is pancetta or pork jowl, or, chicharrones or cracklings.

Risotto

There are thousands of ways to prepare and use risotto, but I will go into detail at the under the recipe as always.

Risotto Bianco – the most basic risotto.

  • The proper rice – arborio, carnaroli, or packages that say “risotto rice”
  • Chicken Stock – the ratio is at least 2.5 or 3.5 of liquid to 1 of rice
  • Diced onion
  • Butter and parmesan
  • White Wine or dry vermouth is optional but is used often to deglaze

Steps

  1. Get your stock warm in a pot, and keep it at a gentle simmer
  2. The rest of the instructions will apply to a separate pan. A wide pan is best.
  3. Add onion and sautée in butter until softened
  4. Turn heat to med-high and toast the rice – cook until translucent without browning. If you see any browning of the rice, stop and go to next step, but it is not the worst for a couple brown grains
  5. Deglaze with wine, cook until almost fully evaporated
  6. I keep my heat 3-4/9 now. Add about 2 ladles of the stock for the first go around, then 1 ladle of stock at a time from there on. Do not add more until it is absorbed.
  7. Stir at least once a minute, going into the rice is cooked to al dente, 15-20 minutes. If it is not done after 20 minutes from adding the stock, the rice needs to be toasted more and/or the heat needs to be higher.
  8. **The classic Italian way is Al Dente, but I personally prefer cooked all the way through.
  9. Add butter and freshly grated parmesan.

More About Risotto

As I stated before, risotto possibilities are endless. Once you have this basic risotto down, you can branch out and do a milanese (which is just adding saffron) use beef stock, add mushrooms, top with pesto; really anything.

My favorite additions: sautée bell peppers or celery with the onions, add crushed tomatoes to stock, top with chicken and/or balsamic reduction.

About the rice: The reason risotto recipes call for certain types of rice is because of their starch content. The creaminess of the end product comes from the rice even before the added butter and parm.

A favorite thing of mine is to make the risotto bianco and then make arancini (fried rice balls) with the leftovers. A post for that will be ready by 08/13 with a link in this spot.

Interesting Fact: During the regime of Mussolini, the wheat and semolina imports to Italy were seen as damaging to self-sufficiency, and the solution was rice. It could be produced domestically, and although the campaign for rice was not fully successful, the many recipes for risotto and free rice given to the people made it more well-known.

Now risotto is a popular Italian dish, with the Croatians and others taking a liking to squid ink risotto among other variants.

Ćevapi, or Ćevapčići

Like most of the time, I put the description at the bottom to be recipe user friendly.

The best combination plate I have made has the pita or lepinja (somun), ajvar, ćevapi, sliced raw onions, roasted or raw tomatoes, and cottage cheese.

Ajvar

  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Eggplant (traditional), zucchini (if you can’t find or stand eggplant)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garlic, minced or roasted
  • Salt and Olive Oil
  1. 1:1 ratio of each vegetable by weight, though more peppers if anything. Start by roasting the bell peppers and the other vegetable in the oven on 375 until charred and peelable (zucchini gets soft but does not peel easy). It helps to wrap the vegetables in a towel after roasting for easier peel.
  2. Deseed the vegetables and then depending on your preference: chop finely, food process everything, or blend. I like blending.

Ćevapi – as with all recipes there are different variations but here are the main components

  • Ground meat: can use beef, pork, or lamb. Combine 2 or 3 if you choose.
  • Garlic cloves, pre-roasted in olive oil
  • S&P
  • Paprika
  • Spicy Spice (I prefer berber, cayenne, etc.)
  • No egg needed, though if used, go light so there is less liquid
    Roast garlic
    Mix ingredients, done. Just kidding. Let flavors absorb in meat for at least 30 minutes. They taste great on the barbecue and is common to cook there, but I prefer to catch all of the delicious juices for later.
    Cook in pan with hot olive oil on medium heat, and be sure to carefully rotate them until the outer layer is sturdy. I like to throw raw onion in the pan to get more flavor as well. Continue cooking meat until your liking.
    For extra deliciousness, after the meat is out, deglaze the pan with balsamic vinagar and add some butter, then let the pita soak in the juices.

Pita Bread or Lepinja

  • I don’t have a recipe or ideas on how to make them on my own, and I’m certainly no expert in breads, so my favorite one is from the NYT Cooking app. For breads, they have the best ratings and easy to follow, though I used a different website for these pictures below.
  • One tip I have for pita bread is to make the dough stickier than most breads. The pita does not need pockets, but it is how it is traditionally served, though it is tricky to get the consistency right.

The ćevapi or ćevapčići is a Balkan tradition, though it developed from the Ottoman’s kebabs during their occupation. It is the national dish of Bosnia & Herzegovina but it is shared greatly in the region. Serbia and Croatia are famous for the ćevapi as well, along with the other former Yugoslav states.

Culture side note – You will find that there is a common bond between these countries but there are cultural differences. Religion is a big one, and you are welcome to dive deeper into the conflict that occurred in the region, with tensions still high.

Back to the meal, ajvar is the most common side dish to ćevapi, and goes along with the pita, or lepinja (somun) bread. The main difference with those two is the lepinja (also known as somun) is risen 3x and is more region specific than the pita, which is used in far more countries outside the Balkans.

Geography side note – The Balkans defined by Britanica: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia.

  • These countries, though similar in geography, should not be grouped together as one country, just like you would not group Ireland and North Ireland, Sudan and South Sudan, or Israel and Palestine based on their geography alone.

Gołabki

More info about gołabki under recipe.

2 ways to go about it. You can make and cook your meat mixture formed to fit cabbage rolls or roll cabbage with raw meat then bake with tomato sauce on top. The meat mixture can fit your preference and since it is just a cabbage roll, you can do what you want with it.

  • 1 head Cabbage, boiled for 2 minutes, until leaves are soft

Meat mixture

  • Ground beef
  • Rice, cooked
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Paprika
  • S&P
  • Olive oil

Tomato sauce (I believe everyone should have their own personal sauce but canned is up to you, or follow my unmeasured recipe)

  • Tomatoes, quartered. For every 2lbs of fresh, I normally add a 16oz can with the juice.
  • Basil, big handful, chopped
  • Rosemary sprigs chopped fine
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • S & P
  • Olive oil
  1. Start your tomato sauce. I like roasting all of the ingredients on 375 then I peel the tomatoes after they are really soft. Then I crush them by hand and put on stove to reduce for at least 1 hour.
  2. Cook rice
  3. Boil cabbage and let it drain until ready to roll
  4. Then make your meat mixture and either preheat your oven to 375 for the gołabki, or cook the meat in the oven or on the stove.
  5. Roll the cabbage and top with sauce. If the meat is uncooked, it usually takes about 30 minutes, and if it is cooked, you just want the cabbage warm again.

Carbonara

More info on carbonara at bottom

The recipe to make it is quick and easy

  • 1lb spaghetti
  • 3/4 lb pork: pancetta, guanciale, or bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (parmasean and bacon have enough salt)
  • Greens (spinach or peas)
    Put pasta in boiling water if using fettuccine or wait until after bacon is cooked when cooking pasta that cooks in less than 5 minutes. (You don’t want your bacon pan too hot.)
    Cook bacon in your largest pan until it crisps up, then turn off and remove from heat. While this goes on, mix eggs, pepper parmesan in bowl.
    When pasta is at your liking (al dente or regular), removed a cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
    Add pasta to pan along with egg mixture, greens and pasta water. Start with a 1/2 cup of water and add more if needed.

Carbonara is a traditional Roman pasta dish. The type of pork to make it genuine is guanciale (cheek) or pancetta (pork belly). If you have trouble finding guanciale, look for pork jowl or just use bacon.

I use spinach in preference to the standard peas but both are fine options.

Kapuśniak

A Polish sauerkraut and pork soup. The pork used can include: bacon, Kielbasa, pork ribs, ham hock, or a combination of them. The vegetables used are normally: carrots, celery, potatoes, and of course cabbage in the form of sauerkraut. Common spices used are: peppercorn, allspice, bay leaves, dill, paprika, marjoram, parsley, and salt.

Recipe. Meat 1/3 lb chopped bacon, 1 lb pork ribs cut into 1 rib pieces. Vegetables (all diced except sauerkraut) 1 medium onion, 2 carrots, 1 lb sauerkraut, 1 large or 2 medium peeled potato. Spices 64 ounces of chicken stock, 3 allspice, 3 peppercorn, 3 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp marjoram.

  1. To start: Heat 2 tbsp of butter in a large pot and then put in the bacon, onions, carrots, and ribs. Brown the ribs slightly and crisp the bacon.
  2. Add the stock and the spices. Bring to a simmer then cook ribs to about 165, until almost fall off the bone.
  3. Put drained sauerkraut in a separate pan with 2 tbsp of butter and 3 tbsp sugar; cook until brown.
  4. Add sauerkraut and potatoes to pot and finish cooking ribs, until about 190 or when ribs fall off bone.

Djuvec Rice

Djuvec rice is both a Serbian and a Bosnian dish. Found in the Balkans, the rice is very easy to make and delicious.

The main ingredients to use are: paprika, red bell pepper, onion, carrots, tomatoes, and something green. I mix it between parsley and peas.

My recipe: Heavy Vegetables: 1 onion, 1 red 1 yellow bell pepper, 3 carrots. Light vegetables: 3 tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves Spices: 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp marjoram 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp of salt. Rice: 1 cup rice with 2 cups chicken stock

Instructions: Sauté heavy vegetables in oil or butter until semi-soft, then add tomatoes and garlic. Keep cooking for 2 minutes. Add rice, spices, and stock (start with 1/2 cup then add until rice is fully cooked).

Gulyás – Goulash

(Scroll down past the Goulash to see Gnocchi recipe)

Goulash is a stew originating from Hungary. While the base ingredients are the same, you add some more to make it your own. Look at my recipe to see if you want anything to add to yours, follow mine, or even check out other blogs for ingredient ideas (this is what i did)

The base ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Bay leaves
  • S & P
  • Meat – can be chuck, or any type of meat for stew. I used “pork stew meat

Other common ingredients include:

  • Bell peppers (mainly green)
  • Carrots
  • Caraway seeds
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Sausage

I added everything above plus

  • Cumin
  • Maggi Würtze Seasoning
  • Diced Roma tomatoes
  • Sauerkraut

Recipe

Amount of ingredients I used in order of usage (Warning: will be very filling and can omit sausage if you care about eating light(ish)). As I said before, you can use different types of meat, but whatever you use, chop into big bite size pieces.

  • Big splash of oil for veggies
  • 1 onion, medium, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-1/2 lbs of pork stew meat
  • Big splash of White wine vinegar (sub apple cider vinegar for a different flavor because apples go great with pork)
  • 1/4 cup of Maggi Würtze
  • Spices
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 32oz Sauerkraut
  • 1lb smoked sausage, sliced thin

Spices are unmeasured but in order of amount with 1 being highest

  1. Paprika
  2. Thyme
  3. Marjoram
  4. Cumin
  5. Caraway Seeds

In order to start the Goulash, I started my mirepoix with some Olivenöl on medium heat just to lightly sautée the vegetables. Then, add the stew meat and the garlic and lightly brown it (the meat). I deglazed with Würtze Seasoning and some White wine vinegar. Next, add the beef stock and the spices. Bring to a boil then turn to a simmer.

Then, take the sliced sausage into a separate pan and cook on high heat with some oil to give it nice color. (This can be done at the same time as stew meat, but I wanted more color on the sausage).

Add the sausage, tomatoes and bay leaves and let simmer for at least 3 hours. Season more every 30 minutes or so until it is full seasoned. Pull off heat when hungry and enjoy!

I made a side of Prebanac (will be in Serbia category or added later to this post).

gnocchi—Goulash can be served with a grain or potato product such as egg noodles or gnocchi.

The gnocchi will be in a post of it’s own but for the sake of convenience, gnocchi is made with:

  • 2 lbs of potatoes
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups of flour. You are looking for a somewhat moist dough but firm enough where you can handle. Start with 1 cup and work your way up to 1-1/2
  • 1 egg
  • Salt

Gnocchi is very easy to make. Boil the peeled potatoes for about 40 minutes. You want them to be mashable. If you have a ricer, pass them through the ricer after boiled.

After, mix the potatoes, egg and salt in a bowl. Then add flour, mix into 1 solid mixture, then put onto a floured surface. You can now tear off parts of the gnocchi mixture and roll into a long snake then cut the snake into inch pieces; or just tear off each individual piece (like I did) and shape into whatever you feel like.

Boil the gnocchi for about 2 minutes, or until they rise to the top and sit there for a minute or two. As with everything; for the first time, work in small batches so in the case of failed results you have less wasted products. You can always boil more but you can’t bring back mush. When boiled, pick them up with a handheld strainer, strain them, then put them on parchment paper to soak up any excess water.

I like to sautée a small batch when ready to serve in 1 tbsp of butter in a small pan, just to brown them a little for that nice crust.

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