A good old fashion roast chicken is a staple to many a Jewish meal, particularly across Eastern Europe. This is my take on Biblical Chicken, combining several elements to traditional Jewish recipes and a few of my own personal touches.
While a great British roast on a Sunday is all very well and good, sometimes my family and I crave something a little different. This roasted chicken dish with aromatic herbs proved a great alternative. With wild mushrooms, celery, white wine and chicken stock, the wonderful sauce is then combined with that traditional Russian flavour of sour cream.
This is perfect for the ultimate feast and great served either with fresh steamed green beans alone, or with an extra side of boiled new potatoes (my preference being the crumbly the better!)
Ingredients (serves 4)
45ml olive or vegetable oil
1.5kg/3lb whole chicken (you could use chicken pieces, just make sure it’s thighs etc. on the bone)
3 celery sticks (peeled so it is not stringy)
1 garlic cloves, crushed
275g wild mushrooms (personally, I wouldn’t bother slicing, even if large but is up to personal tastes)
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
250ml chicken stock
250ml dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I tend to prefer flat leaf)
120ml sour cream
Salt and ground black pepper
Flat leaf parsley to garnish
Fresh green beans to serve
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius, 375 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas Mark 5
Heat the oil in a roasting tin and brown the chicken all over
Remove the chicken temporarily
Fry the onions for about 2 minutes in the roasting tin
Add the celery, garlic, wild mushrooms and thyme and cook for 3 minutes
Pour in the chicken stock, wine and lemon juice into the roasting tin (or foil dish as in my case)
Sit the chicken on the top of the stock etc.
Sprinkle over half the parsley
Place the chicken in the oven for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours or until tender
Baste occasionally to prevent drying out
Remove the chicken from the roasting tin and keep warm
Put the roasting tin on the hob and stir in the sour cream over a gentle heat until you make a thick pouring sauce
Arrange the chicken on a plate, surrounded by the cream and mushroom sauce
Garnish with parsley sprigs
This recipe is perfect for a quick but super healthy meal and requires just seven ingredients (and that’s counting salt and pepper as two!) If you don’t want to use salmon, trout is a reasonable alternative, or mackerel could be used but I would imagine that could produce quite a different taste.
Restoran Katedralis sits on a corner overlooking Zagreb’s beautiful cathedral. The restaurant offers a vast menu with plenty of Croatian delights to satisfy the hungry tourist looking to indulge in some local specialities and best yet, this restaurant is not a tourist trap. The large, split-level terrace is filled with tables of Croatians enjoying great food and fantastic wine. The restaurant staff are attentive and friendly, without being overbearing.
While mulling over the menu, the waiter presents soft white bread, accompanied by a local, soft cheese, mixed with cream and herbs. The cheese may resemble coleslaw (one food stuff I simply loathe) but it tastes delicious and is worth trying, even if one finds its appearance slightly off-putting.
The main courses on offer include a selection of typical home-cooked meals, as well as usual restaurant favourites such as Zagrebački Odrezak (veal schnitzel Zagreb). The schnitzel was served with a garlic dipping sauce, wedge of lemon, thin, fried onions, and some carved carrots and radish. The schnitzel was thick and wrapped in ham and cheese before covered in breadcrumbs and fried. The cheese, usually an edam like cheese, oozed out with every cut of the knife. This plate was quite simply heavenly but incredibly large which made it a little bit of a challenge to eat every morsel!
Other traditional main courses included a mixed meat plate, with beef, pork and chicken, served with a herb sauce, and a veal saltimbocca, the latter of which is traditionally Italian but also eaten and enjoyed throughout Croatia. However, unusually, the veal saltimbocca, a thin veal escalope with sage, prosciutto and dry sherry, was served with a pepper sauce.
A mixed dish of grilled vegetables, aubergine, courgette and white pepper with cubed potatoes made the perfect side dish.
The wine list boasted many great Croatian wines and Graševina, Vrhunsko vino, Vinogorje Kutjevo, Berba 2007, 12% vol. seemed like the perfect choice to wash down the meal with. Not too immature, as many East European wines can be, the taste is smooth, dry and not too floral and its colour was golden. The wine and meal was followed by a homemade pear schnapps which was quite lethal!
What to know: 10% discount for cash
Tel: (01) 48 14 938
Angling is a particularly popular pastime in Russia and as a result, fish is used in many Russian recipes. This is a great, easy, one-pot, dish, perfect for Friday night dinner after a long week at work.
600g fish fillets (pike, catfish, perch, or sea fish such as cod or bass)
Juice of 1-2 lemons
500g mushrooms, preferably wild
30g all-purpose flour
1/2 bunch parsley, dill and scallions (spring onions)
Marinate the fish in lemon juice for 30 minutes.
Boil the potatoes until just soft.
Clean the mushrooms, slice finely, and saute in small knob of butter.
Cut the fish diagonally.
Coat fish in flour.
Shallow fry fish in oil until golden brown on both sides (skin side down first).
Place fried fish fillets in a greased baking dish.
Slice the potatoes.
Place slices over the fish.
Sprinkle the mushrooms on the top of the potatoes.
Beat the eggs, season with salt and pepper, and pour over the fish and vegetable mixture.
Bake in preheated oven at 200ºC until the egg is firm.
Sprinkle with herbs and scallions and serve.
If you want to make sure you get a good, brown, crispy topping you can add a few small knobs of butter to the topping before putting in the oven.
This traditional Russian dish is quite dry and may please Western palettes more if a little cream or sour cream is drizzled over the fish and potatoes to create a sauce.