Russian stews (ragu) are often accompanied by noodles or dumplings or just good, multigrain or rye bread. Most popular is Beef Stroganoff (in Russian: Бефстроганов Befstróganov) is a dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce with smetana or sour cream. From its origins in 19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe.
Here is a quick primer of the range of food I offer to Cossack Cuisine customers. By the way, one of my recipes I use came from my great-great grandmother. Source: Mostly wikipedia.
1. Zukuski (appetisers)
A zakuski (from the Russian закуски [zɐˈkuskʲɪ]; singular закуска, zakuska) is a Russian term for hors d’oeuvres, snacks, appetizers, served before meals. Usually presented buffet style, it often consists of cured meats and fishes, various pickled vegetables such as beets, cucumbers, and garlic, mixed salads, caviar, and breads.
These appetizers are often present at parties or receptions, especially in Armenia and Russia. Usually zakuski are served away from the dining room.
Visual examples of Zukuski here
2. Pelmeni (dumplings)
Pelmeni (Russian pronunciation: [pʲɪlʲˈmʲɛnʲɪ]; Russian: пельме́ни — plural, пельмень pelʼmenʼ — singular) are dumplings consisting of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough that originated in Siberia and is a dish of Russian cuisine. Pelmeni are common in Russia and have similar names in other languages: Belarusian: пяльмені, pyal’meni; Tatar: пилмән(нәр) pilmän(när); Ukrainian: пельмені, pel’meni; Latvian: pelmeņi; Azerbaijani: düşbərə.
The filling can be minced meat (pork, lamb, beef, or any other kind of meat), fish, or mushrooms. The mixing together of different kinds of meat is also popular. The traditional Udmurtrecipe requires a mixture of 45% beef, 35% mutton, and 20% pork. Pelmeni in Perm (west of the Ural Mountains) are often filled with mushrooms, onions, turnips, or sauerkrautinstead of meat. Various spices, such as black pepper and onions, are mixed into the filling.
Visual examples of Pelmeni here
3. Piroshki (pies)
Pirozhki (plural form of pirozhok, Russian: пирожок, пирожки, which means a little pirog), sometimes transliterated as piroshki (or pyrizhky from Ukrainian: пиріжки), is a generic word for individual-sized baked or fried buns stuffed with a variety of fillings.
A common variety of pirozhki are baked stuffed buns made from yeast dough and often glazed with egg to produce the common golden colour. They commonly contain meat (typically beef) or a vegetable filling (mashed potatoes, mushrooms, onions and egg, or cabbage). Pirozhki could also be stuffed with fish (e.g., salmon) or with an oatmeal filling mixed with meat or giblets. Sweet-based fillings could include stewed or fresh fruit (apples, cherries, apricots, chopped lemon, etc.), jam, or cottage cheese; The buns may be plain and stuffed with the filling, or else be made in a free-form style with strips of dough decoratively encasing the filling.
Visual examples of Piroshki here
4. Kotletki (meatballs)
Kotleti can be described as Russian pan-fried hamburgers, usually served with sides like sour cream, vegetables, rice or potatoes (never on a bun). They are different from American hamburgers because they are tender and crisp on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. Kotleti, a Western European dish popular in modern Russian households, if not burger-shaped are served as small pan-fried meat balls, not dissimilar from Salisbury steak and other such dishes. Made primarily from pork and beef (sometimes also from chicken or fish), they are easily made and require little time. Ground beef, pork, onions and bread are put in a bowl and mixed thoroughly until it becomes relatively consistent. Once this effect is achieved, balls are formed and then put into a hot frying pan to cook.
Visual examples of Kotletki here
5. Ryba (fish)
Fish (ryba) was important in pre-revolutionary cuisine, especially on Russian Orthodox fast days when meat was forbidden, similar to the Catholic custom of eating fish instead of meat on Fridays. Strictly freshwater fish such as carp and sudak (Sander lucioperca, Zander) were commonly eaten in inland areas, as well as anadromous sturgeon and in northern areas salmon, pike and trout. A greater variety of fish—including saltwater species—were preserved by salting, pickling or smoking and consumed as “zakuski” (hors d’oeuvres).
Visual examples of Ryba here
6. Miaso (meat)
In traditional Russian cuisine three basic variations of meat dishes can be highlighted:
- a large boiled piece of meat cooked in a soup or porridge, and then used as second course or served cold (particularly in jellied stock—e.g. Kholodets‘ )
- offal dishes (liver, tripe, etc.), baked in pots together with cereals;
- whole fowl dishes or parts of fowl (legs or breasts), or a large piece of meat (rump) baked on a baking tray in an oven, so-called “zharkoye” (from the word “zhar”(жар) meaning “heat”)
The most popular meat dishes include:
Steak (otbivnaya) – beef and pork ones are most popular
Beef stroganov – pieces of beef prepared with cream sauce
Kiev style chicken (kotleta po-kievsky) – the special type of chicken chop with butter inside
Visual examples of Miaso here
7. Dich (game)
Typically Russians use game (such as elk, doe and wild boar) to cook a range of classic meat dishes.
Visual examples of Dich here
8. Ragu (stews)
Visual examples of Ragu here
9. Ovoschi (veggie)
Vegetables (ovoschi) typically eaten by the Cossacks included cabbage, potatoes, and cold tolerant greens. Pickling cabbage (sauerkraut), cucumbers, rutabagas and other vegetables in brine is used to preserve vegetables for winter use. Pickled apples and some other fruit also used to be widely popular. Ridge cucumbers, with a firm texture and full flavor, are either used fresh in salads or pickled in jars for winter. Other popular vegetables are beetroot, potato, carrots, parsnips and mushrooms. Mushrooms are dried for use in soups and sauces, or salted or pickled for snacks with bread and vodka. They are also sauteed fresh in butter and herbs, or sauced with soured cream.
Visual examples of Ovoschi here
10. Sladosti (desserts)
Russian desserts (sladosti) are usually eaten after the main course or at breakfast. The favourites are:
Pancakes (bliny) – served with soured cream, honey or jam
Oladi – same as pancakes, but thicker and more feeding.
Pastries (pirozhky) – the pastries with apple are most popular
Honey – honey from Altay region is considered to be the best
Tvorog – cottage cheese (or quark), usually served with honey or berry jam
Syrniki – can also be called “tvorog burgers” because they are made of tvorog and fried on a sauce-pan after. Usually eaten with honey, sweet dressings, or jam.
Visual examples of Sladosti here
I also cook many more varieties of food too.
For a brief and interesting history of Cossack/Russian cuisine – go here.