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Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Saturday, 19 March 2011

RECIPE: Russian Beef Pancakes

Ok, so I didn't do what every other blogger on the planet did by blogging this recipe in time for Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake day, as it's known here) But it is such a wonderful recipe, that it should be eaten more often and not just once a year in honour of pancake day.

My Mum's friend used to make this for me as a kid; many Russian dishes are popular in Iran and we are no stranger to foods like pancakes and Pirogies (or 'Piroshgie' as we call them). I'm heading to Russia next month to explore Moscow and St Petersburg and eating will be a big part of my trip, so in honour of my trip, here is my recipe for fabulous Russian pancakes **Beware, they are addictive**

Russian Beef Pancakes

400g best quality minced beef
150g Chestnut mushrooms (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 small onions (or 1 large), finely chopped
1 pack of ready-made pancakes (I used 'Woodside' brand from Sainsburys)
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped
5 shallots, very finely chopped
3 large free-range eggs, hard boiled and chopped
Oil for cooking

In a large preheated frying pan over a high heat (or medium-high is using gas) dry-fry your mushrooms, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes before adding a little drizzle of oil. This will prevent them for stewing and becoming all nasty and watery; instead you will cook them perfectly and get a better colour and overall texture from them. Once they are cooked, empty the pan contents into a bowl and set aside.

Then reduce your heat a little and in the same pan, drizzle a good quantity of oil and caramelise your onions to get a rich, golden-brown colour from them without burning them. If they look like they are prematurely burning, reduce the heat and remove pan from hon until cooler before finishing off your onions. Then empty the onions into the same bowl as the mushrooms and turn up the heat a little, once again.

Add your meat to the hot pan and sautee the meat, ensuring your are constantly moving it so it doesn't stew and become grey and flabby. You want colour and a nice charring, almost, of the meat. Just as the remaining pinky/red bits of meat begin to change colour, add your turmeric, cayenne and ground cumin and mix well to incorporate into the meat. Then add your mushrooms and caramelises onions and finish cooking for another 6-8 minutes before adding your chopped parsley and giving it one final mix.

If you have been good and made your own pancakes, then great! But there is nothing wrong with getting a little helping hand from ready made ingredients too, especially if they are tasty. I zapped my panckes for about 30 seconds in the microwave at full temperature before serving topped with meat and side dish of the raw shallots, chopped eggs and fresh dill. Perfect! A shot of vodka wouldn't go a miss either! Nastrovya!

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