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Russian Recipes: Cooking Russian Peasant Food

Tom Reidy talks about cooking and preparing Russian entrees, including recipes for tvorg, Smetana, varentez, drachona, cucumber with smetana, and more.

| November/December 1975

  • Cabbage rolls
    The whole cabbage should be cooked until soft in salted water. The leaves should then be separated and flattened, and the thick stalks cut away.
    PHOTO: FOTOLIA/HELLEN SERGEYEVA

  • Cabbage rolls

The USSR covers one-sixth of the world's surface, embraces 13 republics, and is home to scores of ethnic groups. Among these are many strains of sturdy peasant stock who have developed their own frugal yet satisfying lifestyles . . . lifestyles that include some superb traditional Russian cookery. A number of Russian recipes rely heavily on milk by-products and may interest MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers who own bountiful dairy animals.

Peasant Food: Russian Recipes

Tvorg Recipe

Tvorog, the Russian cream cheese, is eaten extensively — either by itself or in a variety of dishes — and is a good use for sour milk.

To make this specialty, put at least two quarts of solidified sour milk into a muslin bag and hang it over a basin to strain off the whey. Leave the curd until it becomes firm but not too dry, and mash it until it's smooth and creamy. The cheese is especially good mixed with chopped chives and a pinch of salt and eaten on buttered rye bread.

Smetana Recipe

Smetana — sour cream is easy to make: Just leave heavy cream in a warm place until it becomes tart in flavor . . . a matter of two or three days, unless you accelerate the process by the addition of a teaspoon of sour milk or a few drops of lemon juice. Be careful not to let the product go cheesy.



Varenetz Recipe

The following ingredients are needed for this old Russian dish:

8 cups creamy milk
1 cup smetana
Cinnamon
Sugar
Rye breadcrumbs



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