I had been looking forward to this dinner ever since we'd decided to include it on the Menu list. Hubby - who was cooking it - was losing faith in it the closer he got to the day.
However, for me, it turned out to be a complete triumph and I would be very happy to see any one of the three recipes he used, trotted out for another go. I think Hubby would agree that, for him, the Pirozhki's were a bit disappointing as he'd expected the pastry to be lighter and more flaky than it was, plus the filling was a tad on the bland side for him. Mind you - I had the leftover filling on toast for breakfast this morning after we'd been shopping. With a teensy bit of Ancona Chilli Sauce, it was gorgeous! Son loved the Pirozhki's, liked the Sweet Potato Wedges and hated the Cabbage. That's not altogether surprising though, as son has a marked sensitivity to anything (that's not a pickled onion) that involves vinegar.
I don't think hubby would be too keen on reproducing the three recipes all in one go again - as he needed a lie down in a darkened room by the end of it. However, he'd be keen enough to make the Pirozhki's again for a buffet supper, the Cabbage dish would be divine with sausages or gammon ham and the Sweet Potato wedges would go with just about anything and were decreed to be streets ahead of a normal potato wedge. All in all, pretty darned successful.
If you don't find the recipe you're looking for straight away, keep on scrolling down, as all three are in this post.
PIROZHKI (could make from 15-30, depending on how big you make them)
This is an adaptation of one of Silvena Rowe's recipes, taken from her book "Feasts".
Ingredients for sour-cream pastry
225g plain flour
half a tsp salt
half a tsp baking powder
100g butter, chilled and cubed
2 large egg yolks, beaten
125ml sour cream
Ingredients for filling
200g minced cooked chicken (we used the other half of a roast chicken)
your choice of vegetables like onion, celery, swede - whatever you want, but diced finely
or - and this is what we used - some leftover Spicy Red Lentils.
Salt & Pepper.
To make up the filling, saute your vegetables until soft and add any herbs or spices you might want. Chop the chicken until it is in fine dice, but not a paste, to retain some texture. Combine the chicken with your vegetables, season to taste and leave to cool.
To make the pastry, place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter cubes and, using your fingers, mix it all together rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the beaten egg yolks and sour cream to the pastry a little at a time, working it all together to achieve a smooth and elastic pastry. Knead for 2-3 minutes then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 190deg C/375deg F/gas mark 5.
When ready to make the pirozhki, roll out half the dough to abut 3-4mm thick. Using a pastry cutter or a glass about 8cm (3 inches) in diameter, stamp out as many rounds as you can.
Brush the edges of the pastry rounds with beaten egg yolk, and place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each. Press the edges gently together to make a half-moon shape. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.
Place the pirozhki on a baking sheet, brush the tops with egg yolk and bake for 25 minutes.
SWEET POTATO WEDGES
Sweet potato, enough for your purposes
Salt & pepper
Seasonings of your choice, such as garlic & herb, cajun spices or cumin & coriander.
Peel the sweet potato and cut into wedge shapes of around 1 cm at their widest part. Place into a bowl.
Add 2 tbsp or so of oil, sufficient to coat each wedge.
Add your seasonings of choice and thoroughly mix to ensure every wedge has a good coating.
Tip onto a roasting tray and roast at min. 190degC, max 200deg C, for 25-30 mins or until the potato feels tender to the knife tip and the edges appear caramelised.
BRAISED RED CABBAGE WITH APPLES & CARAWAY SEEDS
Recipe is adapted from Orangette blog.
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs finely chopped red onion
1 small head red cabbage (about two pounds), quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
3 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs honey
1 tsp salt
1/8 to ¼ tsp caraway seeds
Heat oil in a large, nonreactive saucepan over a medium-low heat.
Add onions and cook until translucent and slightly golden.
Add cabbage, apple, vinegar, honey, salt, and caraway seeds; then cover pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very soft but not falling apart, about an hour.
Serves roughly 4. Delicious warm, at room temperature, or cold, straight from the fridge.
Oh - and I can verify the "cold, straight from the fridge" thing, as I had the leftovers for my lunch today. Delicious!