The wholesome joy of peasant fare
by MARGARET SAUL
From Grit magazine
Traveling produces wonderful memories of exciting places, different people and exotic foods.
In each country, a visitor can find a popular comfort food that frequently becomes the visitor’s favorite as well.
Such was the case on our trip to Scotland, with memories such as the kilt-clad Scotsman standing in the field playing the bagpipes as our bus drove by and the magnificent stained glass in the museum in Glasgow.
And the best comfort food from there turned out to be collops.
A dear friend’s mother was from Scotland, complete with thick brogue and a laugh you could hear around the block, so I checked with her about the recipe.
She said it was good, and that you could use ground round steak for an easier and less expensive dish.
She also advised using more onion than my recipe included, as the onion gravy was what made the dish so delicious.
I tried to duplicate her recipe and was pleased with the result.
1 pound lean round steak, ground
5 tablespoons flour
3 or more tablespoons margarine
1 large mild onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 tablespoon
3 cubes beef or chicken bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste
In large bowl, place ground steak. Sift flour over steak and mix until flour is thoroughly mixed in and absorbed by steak.
In heavy skillet, melt margarine. When sizzling hot, add meat and break into tiny pieces with wooden utensil.
Add onion, water mixture and bouillon cubes, and cook until meat is thoroughly browned.
Continue cooking until completely combined into thick gravy.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over thick mashed potatoes.
While I have always wanted to visit the Scandinavian countries, I have never had the opportunity. However, a small town in California, Solvang, near Santa Barbara, looks about like any small town in Denmark, and I have been there many times.
We always have lunch at a small restaurant with a lovely smorgasbord. My favorite items are probably the Danish meatballs and the salmon salad.
2 slices bread, cubed
3/4 cup milk
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 small onion, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter or margarine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 soup can milk
Soak bread in 3/4 cup milk until most of the milk is soaked up.
Add ground beef, ground pork, onion, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Mix well and form into meatballs.
Heat olive oil and butter in skillet.
Add meatballs and brown well on all sides. Transfer to casserole dish.
Combine soup and remaining milk until smooth; pour over meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
My travels have yet to take me to Russia. However, one of my favorite meals is beef stroganoff, and I hope I have the opportunity to go to Russia and verify this delicious dish.
Beef a la Stroganoff
11/2 pounds lean round steak
2 tablespoons water
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, cut into pieces
1 to 3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 pint sour cream
Salt and paprika to taste
Trim meat. Cut across the grain into long, thin strips about half the width of a pencil, then cut into inch-length pieces.
Place water in skillet. When hot, add beef. Cover and cook slowly for 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
Add mushrooms and allow to cook for an additional 10 minutes.
If the pan becomes dry, add a little butter (just enough to keep the pan from becoming dry).
After 25 minutes in all, place meat and mushrooms in top of double boiler.
In frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter.
Stir in flour until combined. Add sour cream and mix well.
Pour into beef mixture and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thoroughly heated through.
Season with salt and paprika.
Serve over hot, creamy noodles.
Excerpted from Grit, Celebrating Rural America Since 1882. Copyright 2011 by Ogden Publications Inc.
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