PIRAGS (Pork and Bacon Buns)
These little buns are a Latvian version of small ‘Cornish pasties’.
Instead of beef, they contain pork and bacon, with or without onion and apple.
Instead of flaky pastry, they are surrounded by bread dough but you could use any kind of pastry.
Instead of being large enough to fill your pocket, they are small (you can get three or four in your pocket).
The combination of chopped pork with bacon and onion is very distinctive.
If you don’t like onion, use a little garlic. Sweeten them by adding a little chopped apple and
really ‘Latvianise’ them by adding some caraway.
Their distinctive ‘parcel’ or ‘half moon’shape is created by using a large glass or cup (wine glass or tea cup) to cut out a circle
in the rolled dough or pastry, which is folded over the contents and sealed before baking.
If you use a mixture of bacon and pork, use good quality pork (not sausage meat) and pre-cook the chopped pork
(fry) before mixing for the filling.
- 180ml milk
- 4 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pack/2 teaspoons dry yeast dissolved in warm water and
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 450 gms sifted plain flour
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped / or two cloves of crushed garlic
- ½ lb/225gm of lean bacon (unsmoked) cut into small pieces
- ½ lb/225 gm finely chopped pork (cooked) – do not use sausage meat
- I finely chopped (peeled) apple
- 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- 2 teaspoons of redcurrant jelly
Heat the milk, butter, salt and sugar together, but do not boil.
When the milk mixture is WARM to the touch, add the dissolved yeast.
Gradually add the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon.
Turn the dough out on to a floured board and need.
Place in a greased bowel, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel, leave in a warm place and allow to rise for at least 2 hours.
Melt a little butter in a frying pan and sautee the onions and or garlic until transparent. Set aside.
Fry the bacon lightly to remove some of the excess fat.
Fry the finely chopped pork. At this point you can drain away any excess fat.
Mix the bacon, pork, onions and any ‘extras’ thoroughly, season with pepper (you do not need to add salt) and allow to cool.
After the dough has risen, roll out a portion of the dough, on a floured board, to 1/4 inch thick.
Using the rim of a tea cup, wine glass or round biscuit cutter, cut out circles.
Cover the centre of each circle with approx. 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture.
Fold dough over, pinching edges tightly. With the tines of a fork, pierce each pirag twice.
Brush lightly with a beaten egg.
Place on baking sheet and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Bake at 170C/350F/gas mark 4 for 15–25 minutes, until golden brown.
These pirags can be eaten hot or cold.
They can be frozen either cooked or uncooked.
Be sure to thaw them properly if cooking them from the freezer.
CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
Serves 6 to 8
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr
a) Chicken Stew:
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 kg/2 ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2cm/1 inch pieces
- 2 litres of chicken stock
- 40 gm cup of flour
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 120 ml cream
- 120 ml of white wine
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Two cloves of crushed garlic (optional)
- 60 ml of vegetable oil
or melted butter
- 250 gm flour
- 250 ml of whole milk
- 10 ml of cream
- 3 tbsp of melted butter
- 1 tbsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of fresh chopped parsley
and 1 tbsp of tarragon
- ¼ tsp black pepper
Heat the oil in a pot with a lid over a medium high heat;
Dredge the chicken in the flour, shake off any excess and add it to the hot pot;
Cook the chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes or until deeply golden brown on all sides;
Remove the chicken to a plate;
In the same pot, add the carrots, onion and celery, season with a little salt and cook the vegetables over a medium heat for
up to 10 minutes until they begin to cook down and develop some color;
Add the chicken back in and season with salt and pepper and garlic with the wine and stock and bring to a boil;
Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low and cook the mixture for about 45 minutes;
Add the cream and peas and cook these for a few minutes while you prepare the dumplings;
In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the dumplings (do not worry if the batter looks lumpy);
Using a small ice cream scoop, or a tablespoon, scoop portions of the dough all over the top of the stock;
Partially cover the pot with the lid and simmer the chicken and dumplings for 15 minutes.
GERMAN POTATO PANCAKES (‘Kartoffelpuffer’)
Delicious hot or cold and good with apple sauce. You can make small 'blinis' with this recipe and use them as a starter or for cocktail parties.
They are good cold for picnics and are really good with ham or chicken.
- 500g floury potatoes (Maris Piper)
- ½ onion
- 1 egg
- freshly ground nutmeg (pinch)
- 50g butter
or oil for frying
- Salt & pepper to season
Peel and grate the potatoes and squeeze out the liquid using a tea towel.
Grate the onion over the potatoes and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and egg.
Add 40g butter and mash, then stir in the flour and season to taste.
Heat the oil in a frying pan.
Place a tablespoon sized portion of the mix in to the oil and flatten with the back of a spoon.
Fry for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown
Drain on paper towels and serve hot with apple sauce.
(sometimes the egg is replaced with 200 gms of flour)
SAUERKRAUT, TOMATO & BEAN SOUP
A student favourite which is cheap, filling and nutritious.
You can add some yoghurt at the end for some extra protein.
Can be used as a ‘detox’ diet with or without the beans.
Most of the ingredients are from the store cupboard and can be stocked up very cheaply.
Serves 4 or serves a singleton for two days.
- 1 x 900 gm jar of sauerkraut
- 2 x 400 gm cartons of chopped tomatoes
- 500 ml of chicken, vegetable or beef stock
- 2 x 250 gm cans of beans of your choice
- 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- ½ tsp of cayenne pepper
- Salt & pepper to taste
Take a jar of sauerkraut, drain and wash in water in a sieve.
Open two tins/packs of tomatoes.
Open the tins of mixed beans and wash.
Add all to water or stock of your choice.
Season with salt, pepper, and/or garlic, and/or pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli.
Simmer for a few hours in a slow cooker or simmer for 30 mins in a large pan.