Belarus (Europe) 20 September 2020

Belarus is located in the continent of Europe. It is a landlocked country and has Russia to the northeast and east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.

The capital is Minsk.

The official languages are Belarusian and Russian.

The climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean making it a cool climate. Rainfall is moderate and occurs from June to August. Their staples are homemade bread, meat delicacies, cheese, pork, sausages, cabbage, turnips, beets carts, potatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, beans, lentils, rye, barley, oats, mushrooms, apples, cherries, plums, blueberries, caraway seeds, coriander, horseradish, juniper and more.

https://www.britannica.com/place/Belarus

MANCHANKA (pork stew) (https://goodfoodonbadplates.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/winter-warmer-belarusian-machanka/):

  • 1 lb pork shoulder, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 TBSP olive oil (or lard if you want to be more traditional)
  • Generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 C beef stock
  • 2 C water
  • Salt to tase
  • Dill, to serve (or chives or parsley if preferred)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the pork in two or three batches until brown.
  2. Remove from the pan and place to rest on a paper towel.
  3. Fry the onion over a medium heat in the same pan, adding a little more oil if necessary.  When translucent, add the pork, bay leaves and one cup of water.
  4. Add the flour to the other cup of water.  Add this mixture to the saucepan and stir in as well as possible trying to make it smooth.
  5. Simmer the stew over a low heat for 1-2 hours, until the pork is tender.  Add more water if the mixture becomes too dry.
  6. Add the sour cream and seasoning and simmer for a further half hour.
  7. Top with dill and serve – traditionally with draniki, but rice can be used instead.
Here is the Manchanka. It tasted much better than it looked!

DRANIKI (Potato Pancake) (https://nationalfoods.org/recipe/national-dish-of-belarus-draniki/):

  • 5 large potatoes, peeled, then grated
  • 1 med onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 TBSP flour
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 8 TBSP vegetable or sunflower oil
  • – salt to taste
  1. Peel the skins off each of the potatoes and rinse with cold water.
  2. Remove the skin off the onion and grate on the fine side of the grater.
  3. Grate the peeled potatoes using the fine side of the grater.
  4. Place the grated potato into a strainer and drain off any excess liquid.
  5. Combine the grated onion and potatoes in a bowl.
  6. Beat the egg separately before adding it to the onion and potato mixture.
  7. Sprinkle adequate salt and pepper.
  8. If the mixture contains excess liquid and appears to be runny, add a couple TBSPs of flour.
  9. Heat four TBSP of the vegetable/sunflower oil in a wide shallow skillet.
  10. Spoon some of the pancake mixture into the skillet, forming it into a circular shape.  Pancakes should be about ¼ thick.
  11. Fry on high heat.  After two minutes, flip the pancake and allow the other side to cook.
  12. Depending on the size of the skillet, two or three pancakes can be cooked at the same time.
  13. When half of the pancake mixture is finished, add the remaining TBSPs of oil and continue cooking the rest of the draniki.
  14. Place the cooked draniki on absorbent paper after frying so excess oil can be absorbed.
  15. Plate and serve with a large dollop of sour cream.
Here are how my Draniki turned out. They are darker than they should be, but were still very good!!

KISSEL: (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/752664156456568614/):

  • ½ Lemon, zest this
  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 1 C water
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 TBSP cornstarch
  • ½ C sugar
  1. Blend the strawberries in a blender with water and lemon zest.
  2. Add the mixture to a small saucepan with water and sugar , and cook on the stovetop on medium high for 7-10 minutes.  Be careful not to let it boil over!
  3. In a separate bowl. Mix together the cornstarch and water. 
  4. Add this slurry to the stovetop mixture.
  5. Cook for 3-4 minutes while stirring frequently, until the Kissel has thickened to your desired consistency.
  6. Enjoy!
Here is how my Kissel turned out

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