Category Archives: Russian

Vintage Recipe: Slovak Easter Memories

There are many things that come to mind as a child growing up in a Slovak family, but one of the best memories is Easter. The magical eerie evening church service on Holy Saturday and the blessing of the Easter baskets in the church basement on early Easter morning will always be my fondest memories.   I will never forget the smells of all the delicious meats, eggs, breads and desserts that came in round wooden baskets covered with embroidered Easter linens. It was a truly an amazing experience with both the church service and with the food.

I wanted to share with you two easy staple recipies that I make every year for Easter. I will admit, you have to acquire a taste for these dishes.  They are called Hrudka (Easter Cheese) and Beets & Horseradish (help me Slovak peeps on the name). These recipies are taken from my old church the St. John The Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church Cookbook circa 1982.  Here’s a copy of the cover and the actual recipies.

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Let’s start with the Hrudka.  (Online it shows Hrudka the cookbook shows Hrutka). If you follow the original recipe you will get a large amount of cheese.  It’s perfect for a larger family likes it. However, I cannot eat that much.  I cut the recipe in half.  This will still last about a week.

Start by creating a double boiler and add your milk and eggs and mix well.

image I like to add a pinch of nutmeg and a splash of vanilla for extra flavor. You want to constantly mix to prevent sticking, and after many minutes you will notice large curds start forming.  I continue to stir until the milk turns watery and you have a scrambled egg consistency.

imageThis is where you pour the mixture into a colander lined with cheesecloth.

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Roll tightly and hang to drip dry until juices stop dripping.

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Once all liquid is removed, place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap and keep stored in the refrigerator. This is served cold in small slices.  This goes great with ham and beets and horseradish ofcourse.

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Now onto the Beets and Horseradish. The traditional recipe uses fresh beets and fresh horseradish.  You have to grate the beets and grate the horseradish and by the time you’re done, it looks like a crime scene in your kitchen.  I did it once and said… NEVER again, so I now take the easier route…..food processor!  I use canned beets as you already have the juice, if you use fresh beets- you’ll need to cook them and grate them and add additional liquid.  (Have fun with that)

Place the juice from the beets into a saucepan and add your salt, sugar and vinegar.  This is all your personal taste, if you like a sweet brine add more sugar, if you like it tart add more vinegar- it’s your personal taste. Bring to a simmer to melt sugar.

imageAdd your beets to the processor and do a quick chop.

image.jpegPlace beets into a non-reactive bowl and add your horseradish.  Once again this is your preference, but I would say atleast 1-2 teaspoons. I like it hot so I do a heaping tablespoon. Add enough brine to the chopped beets and horseradish to just about cover.  You don’t want to create a soup you want just enough liquid to make a nice relish. Adjust your seasonings as needed.  Wrap with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.  This is best to be made the day before to allow flavors to combine.

imageThis is also served cold and goes great with ham and with the Hrudka and also kielbasa.

These two simple recipies really brings great memories of Easter dinner back in Pennsylvania. I hope you enjoy.

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Chicken Gorky

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Here is a great recipe that certainly has it’s Russian roots.  Using very simple ingredients and a little over an hour of your time, you can have a wonderful dish that people will rave over. Here’s what you’re going to need:

Ingredients

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2-3 oz Vodka

I start by cleaning my chicken and removing any leftover pieces of skin and cut the breasts into two pieces.

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Brown the chicken in the olive oil and butter with the onions. While the chicken and onions are browning, heat 2-3 oz of Vodka. (a easy way to heat your vodka is to pour your vodka in a smaller glass and place inside some very hot water)

Once chicken is browned add the garlic, salt and pepper and sauté for 1 minute then pour in your heated garlic.  If you can catch the flame and get your Vodka to flambé -even better.  Cook for an additional minute.

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Remove chicken from the pan and dredge it in flour and set aside. Add the tomato paste and chicken broth to the pan with the onions and mix well.  Slowly add in the sour cream and feta cheese and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning.

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Add your chicken back to the pan and slowly simmer for 20 minutes.

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Place your chicken into a casserole dish and pour the sauce over the chicken and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until the top is brown.  Once the chicken is finished cooking, I like to add a teaspoon of fresh or dried dill over the chicken to add an additional layer of flavor.

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I usually serve the chicken over pasta, but it will also work really will over rice.

The dish shows the Corningware Spice of Life “Le Marjolaine” casserole dish with the Corningware casserole trivet.

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Enjoy!