This month, with this recipe, I have had my horizons sufficiently broadened. While we're used to the concept of bread as a main ingredient in such dishes as egg-soaked pain perdu, tomato-soaked panzanella, and fruit-soaked summer pudding, in the Ukrainian dish holopchi, bread isn't soaked at all. Instead, it's baked in a wrapping of beet greens, which bar the dill-spiked cream sauce, added just before serving, from fully infiltrating the center.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Pure peasant food, defined by using what's left. If you're wondering where to find beet greens, think the tops of beets, which you can save for another purpose. And in the absence of meat, a fluffy bread dough expands the packages into little pillows of green and red: beet leaf and vein. Since R and I don't have any fields or farms to tend, the sauce provided a bit more sustenance than our lives require. So instead of 2 cups heavy cream, I used light. And instead of 1/2 cup butter, I coated the pan with about a tablespoon. The dill is the real star of the sauce anyway, so don't skimp on the fresh stuff.
If you think you don't like this kind of thing (and how would you know, really, as I for one have never seen anything like it), be open to the possibility that you're wrong. It's surprisingly tasty, although not particularly assertive. But isn't white bread meant to be mellow? Mellow and nourishing, a so-old-it's-new-again use for the staff of life.
You can find the recipe here. It makes a huge amount, seriously, huge. So either plan on feeding the farm or cut it in half. However, I'd suggest making the full sauce recipe.