Traditional Russian food - Pozharsky Cutlets and Goose with Apples
Many Russian dishes are closely related to the customs of the people. For instance, the story about how the Pozharsky cutlets came into being is legendary. People say that one day a Russian tsar - most likely it was Alexander I - was forced to stop in the small town of Ostashkovo, which is on Lake Seliger, because his carriage broke down. Pozharsky's tavern was considered to be the most decent one in the town, so breakfast for the tsar was ordered there. Among other dishes, the menu included veal cutlets. The tavernkeeper was in despair: he couldn't get any veal anywhere and the General-Adjutant wouldn't even listen to explanations. Then the tavernkeeper, taking his wise wife Darya's advice, decided to play a trick: he made the cutlets out of chicken meat, fried them and served them to the tsar. The tsar liked the dish so much that he ordered Pozharsky to be rewarded. Fearing disclosure, Pozharsky admitted his fraud. However, the tsar was in such a favourable mood that he ordered the cutlets to be included in the menu of his own kitchen. So, what were those cutlets like, which the tsar liked so much? This is the recipe.
A medium-sized chicken
5-6 slices of white bread,
1/2 cupful of milk,
100 gr butter,
1 cupful of fine breadcrumbs,
salt and pepper to taste.
For the sauce:
1/2 cupful of green peas,
1 1/2 cupful of milk,
2 tblsp flour,
50 gr of butter
Mince the chicken meat, add the bread that has been soaked in milk and lightly squeezed out, half of the butter, salt, pepper and again pass through a mincer. Pour in the rest of the milk and mix well. The meat should be fluffy.
Divide the meat into 100 - 120 gr portions and shape into oval cutlets, the thickness of a finger. Dip each cutlet in egg, roll in breadcrumbs, and fry in pan with butter.
The cutlets are served with vegetables prepared in milk sauce. For this you melt the butter in a frying pan and fry 2 tblsp of flour in it lightly. Dilute the flour with half a cupful of milk. Put the finely chopped vegetables into the pan, add butter, a cupful of milk, salt, and mix them with the vegetables, till tender. Arrange the cutlets on a platter - two to a portion - pour the sauce with the vegetables over them and decorate with greenery.
A baked goose with apples adorns the table at Christmas in many nations. Russian housewives prepare it as follows:
Goose with Aplles
1 medium-sized goose
4 tblsp of raisins,
1 tblsp sugar,
15 average-sized apples,
salt to taste,
Rub the cleaned goose, inside and out, with salt. Pare 6-7 sour apples, cut each into four, and remove the seeds. Wash the raisins and soak in hot water until they swell a bit, drain the water and mix the raisins with the apples and sugar. Stuff the goose evenly with the mixture and sew up the slit. Place the goose onto a dripping pan on its back, add half a cupful of water and place in a very well-heated oven. As soon as the goose begins to bake, turn it over, with the slit downwards.
When the whole goose is slightly baked, tum the flame down, and periodically (every 7- 10 minutes) baste with the fat which has dripped into the pan.
In about three hours the goose should be tender. Check it with a thin slither of wood; if it goes in easily and comes out clean, the goose is done.
A few minutes before the goose is done, surround it with the rest of the apples, pourfat over them and bake in a well-heated oven until soft. Be careful that the apples don't crack. Remove the thread, and spoon out the stuffing onto an oval platter, place the goose on top, and the baked apples around. Decorate with olives and greenery.
You can also stuff the goose with fresh cabbage, buckwheat porridge, with mushrooms, onions and parboiled potatoes. Duck is prepared in the same way.