We’ve been enjoying some wonderful home meals recently. Last week we had yet another example. This was an Alsatian theme meal with Polish overtones. Before dinner we had superb Iranian pistachio nuts and cashews with a warm German beer which had been heated in a pot and poured over berry syrup in a tall glass. One of the best ways of diluting syrup you could ever think of!
Our first course was a beetroot soup. Yes there is a light red soup in this plate.
I would have called it Borscht but this was a Polish version and is called Barszcz. There are half a dozen different ways to spell this name in English. Regardless of the spelling this is a soup that is cooked, in different ways, all over Eastern Europe and may be served hot or cold. There seem to be no defining base ingredients and an infinity of recipes. It may or may not have beetroot and may not be a red soup. It may be made with cabbage, other ingredient, used in different regions, include potato, carrot, grain, other vegetables, meat and sour cream. Borscht is a soup worthy of a PhD thesis. You don’t need to have a thought about it’s origins to enjoy it and we certainly did. This one was prepared with beetroot and had mini pirogi.
Next course was sauerkraut
and spatzle served with a variety of sausages and meats. Sauerkraut is shredded cabbage fermented with wine or dry cured with salt. It is a popular winter food in Germany and in Alsace which has been a part of Germany but is now French. We were offered Lyonnaise white sausages with pistachio nuts,
Boudin blanc, a pork sausage, Polish bratwurst,
a blood pudding, my favourite, and a couple of others, as well as shaved leg ham
and pork belly
. All this with Alsatian Reisling and Pinot Gris. The meal was completed with two home made lemon tarts,
one made by our host, Neil from 'At My Table' http://tankeduptaco.blogspot.com and one made one of the guests, Ed Charles of http://www.tomatom.com fame.