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Monday, 20 August 2012

UKRAINE'S CAVE CITIES and PLOV


With the Lonely Planet as our guide, my daughter and I travelled to the Crimea to visit Chufut-Kale, which dates back sometime between the 6th and 12th centuries.

Somehow we managed to get on the right bus and off at the right (unmarked) spot. 


We climbed up and up, past vendors of arts and crafts to the deserted city.


Rooms were carved into the rock.


I loved the window seats.


The views into the gorge were spectacular.


**************

 Russian is the preferred language in the Crimea.  For example, when I asked at our hotel about snidanok  (breakfast) I got a blank stare; the operative word was zowtruk. 

Lonely Planet informed us that one of the Crimean dishes offered in restaurants is:


PLOV:  serves 8 to 10

*make the lamb stock a day before making Plov

(based on a recipe in From Borshch to Blinis by Catherine Atkinson)

Fresh Leg of Lamb
salt, peppercorns, whole cloves

½ cup raisins
½ cup pitted prunes
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion
1 pound lamb (from Leg of Lamb)
½ pound ground lamb (also from Leg of Lamb)
5 garlic cloves
2/3 cup lamb stock
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

4 cups lamb stock
2 cups Basmati rice
½ tsp salt
1 tsp saffron
mint for garnish

LAMB STOCK:
  1.  Debone lamb leg. 
  2. Weigh out 1 and ½ pounds of lamb meat.  Wrap in plastic and keep in fridge until ready to make plov. 
  3. Freeze remaining lamb meat for another use.
  4. Cover bones with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. 
  5. Remove scum and add 1 tsp salt, 10 peppercorns, and 4 whole cloves.
  6. Simmer uncovered for one hour.
  7. Strain and refrigerate.  (Before using for plov, remove the hardened fat.)

Prepare fruit and meat:

1.        Cover raisins and prunes with ½ cup water.  Let soak for 1 hour.
Drain, then quarter the prunes.  Reserve for adding to the rice.

2.       Peel and chop onion in food processor.
3.       Peel garlic.
4.       Cut one pound of lamb into ½ inch chunks.
5.       Grind the remaining lamb in food processor.
6.       Heat butter in large frying pan.  Cook onion for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
7.       Add  garlic that has been crushed through a garlic press.
8.       Stir in ground lamb and lamb chunks.  Brown lamb for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  
9.        Add 2/3 cup lamb stock,  1 tbsp lemon juice,  ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper.  Bring to a boil.
10.   Cover, lower heat, and cook for 45 to 50 minutes (until tender).

Prepare Rice:

1.        In Dutch oven combine rice with 4 cups stock, ½ tsp salt, and saffron.  Bring to a boil.
2.       Cover and reduce heat.  Cook for 15 minutes.
3.       Take off heat.  (If there is still liquid, it will be absorbed in the next 5 minutes.)



FINAL ASSEMBLY OF PLOV

1.        Gently stir hot meat and fruit into hot rice.
2.       Taste for salt and pepper.
3.       Turn into serving dish and garnish with mint.


Serve with a lettuce salad and another side dish such as mushrooms.  

If a second meat dish is desired, Chicken Kiev is a good choice.