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Saturday, December 10, 2011


Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Kuliabaka is a Russian dish which sounds really complex, but you can do it ahead of time. It's really special and festive.

1/2 cup long-grained white rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
16 ounces skinned salmon fillet (about 1/2-inch thick), cut into 4 even pieces
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (one 17 ounce package), thawed
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Bring 1 cup of water to a gentle boil in a medium pot. Add the rice and salt and stir. Lower the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked through. Fluff the rice with a fork and set aside.

To make the rice filling, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add 1/2 of the onions and cook, stirring frequently, about 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the dill and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Add the cooked rice, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Stir to mix the ingredients together thoroughly. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the mushroom filling, heat another sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the remaining olive oil and butter. Add the remaining onions and cook as before, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes until the mushrooms are softened. Add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream and cook until the cream has reduced by half (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

Sprinkle the salmon pieces lightly with salt and pepper and a little herbs de provence. Roast on a sheet pan in the 350 oven for 10 minutes ,then let cool. Grease a very large baking sheet. Roll out 1 puff pastry sheet on a floured surface to a 12 inch square. Cut into 4 equal pieces and place the squares on the baking sheet. Place 1/4 of the rice filling onto one of the squares, mounding it into an oval so as to make it as compact as possible. Place 1/4 of the mushroom filling on top of the rice and then place one piece of the salmon on top of the mushrooms, then top with chopped HB eggs and a piece of dill. Roll out the remaining pastry sheet to a size slightly larger than the first sheet (13 inches should be fine). Cut into 4 equal pieces. Lay one square on top of the salmon and filling and press lightly to seal the edges where the two squares of pastry meet. (Don't press too hard or the pastry won't rise.) Repeat these steps with the other three squares. You can chill the assembled pastries up to 8 hours ahead if you wish.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the pastries with the egg and water mixture. Bake in the oven until golden (about 30 minutes). Transfer the pastries to plates and serve. Makes 4 large servings