Russian Cuisine
 


Appetizers

  Soljanka

Ingredients

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, in all
11/2 pounds Brined Cabbage
2 small bay leaves, 4 black peppercorns, and 4 all- spice berries, tied in a cheesecloth bag
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound cooked beef
1/4 pound cooked tongue
6 ounces frankfurters
6 ounces lean ham
2 Brined Cucumbers
6 marinated plums
1 teaspoon capers
12 black Greek olives, halved and pitted
1 medium onion, finely chopped and sauteed for 7-8 minutes in 1 table- spoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
6 tablespoons grated Par- mesan cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
6 slices lemon


Method
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan, add the sauerkraut, spice bag, and sugar, and saute for 15 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally to keep the sauerkraut from sticking to the pan. Meanwhile, cut the cooked beef, tongue, frankfurters, ham, and pickles into 1/2-inch dice. Combine this mixture with the capers and olives and set aside. When the sauerkraut is cooked, discard the spice bag and mix the onions into the sauerkraut. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a 3- to 4-quart rectangular casserole with 1 tablespoon of butter and spread half the sauerkraut over the bottom. Cover with all the diced meats and pickles, then top with remaining sauerkraut. Smooth the top, sprinkle with the bread crumbs and grated cheese, dot with the remaining butter, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cut into 6-8 squares and transfer to individual heated serving plates. Smooth the sides and decorate with the chopped scallions, lemon slices, and marinated plums. Serve at once. Variation Fish Casserole Instead of the beef, tongue, frankfurters, and ham, substitute up to 1 pound of assorted fish fillets, sauteed in unsalted butter or oil and cut into 1-inch pieces.

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