Food Run: Finding Bulgaria

I don’t know Bulgarian cuisine. That is to say, I didn’t know Bulgarian cuisine, and I still don’t really know what it exactly is. But I kind of know what it’s suppose to be like.

Since relocating to London, I’ve been living with a Bulgarian gent for about three months now. Amongst teaching me the values/virtues of whisky drinking, vodka sculling, cigar smoking as well as burrowing in some anti-regimist senitments, he’s also taken some time out to [partially] educate me on his homeland’s eats.

Bulgarians are not meek people. From what I gather, they are honest, proud and hardworking, versed very strongly in family traditions and academia. They also breed some of the healthiest and happiest giants the Eastern European shores have ever seen.

Fuck that, they would crush you in their sleep.

Ergo meats, cheeses, herbs and rice. This is the basis of Bulgarian eating. It seems simple and oh so corrosive to your morning lateral work out and wheat-grass shot. But believe I, when assembled as the Bulgarians do, it is fxcking delicious, nauseating and coma-inducing in that order. It’s food that commands alcohol consumption upon eating.

So here’s a bastardization of a Bulgarian recipe that I semi-self taught myself (feeling defeated by my own sentence structure) on the way to finding the true Bulgaria.

Ingredients:

– 1 white onion
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 1 cup of vegetable stock (any other stock also useable)
– 1 cup of easy cook long grain rice
– 500 g – 750 g beef or lamb mince (if you’re feeding the house, go 750)
– 2 eggs
– 1 capsicum, red or green
– 300 g cherry tomatoes, the ‘small pack’
– 1 zucchini
– olive oil
– american mustard, tomato puree & smokey BBQ sauce
– grated mozerella and crumbed fetta cheese
– a combination of salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg – you can use the dry shit, it’s actually probably better for the process

Feeds: Jonah Lomu, your average BBQ gathering

Note – my place has this natural river cottage glow. No-filter required.

Phase 1: Break the mince up in a bowl. Lightly season herb combo and a teaspoon of flour and combine into mince with a wooden spoon or those hairy palms. That helps seal in the juices (“da jooses”)
Add a tablespoon of mustard and BBQ sauce and two tablespoons of tomatoe puree. Mix altogether until it smells like the outside of a Hurricanes Bar & Grill. Refridgerate for a few hours.

Phase 2: Chop onions into small pieces and crush the garlic. Fry off with olive oil in a non-stick pan on a low heat until garlic is brown and onion looks glassy.

Phase 3: Add the cup of rice and stir that through for a minute or so to absorb the garlic and onion funk. Season with some black pepper at this point.

Phase 4: Add veg stock and simmer off the rice on a mid to high heat. Cover if need be but within 10 minutes that rice is gonna expand. Once rice has fully absorbed stock and has softened, dish out into a bowl and let it chill for a bit.

Phase 5: Simultaneously with the previous Phase, cut the vegetables up into decent chunks. Line the base of a decently sized tray with some al-foil and start laying the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil.

Pre-cheesing. Ooft.
Pre-cheesing. Ooft

Phase 6: Add the rice to the tray. Try and organise it to the centre-ish so it cops flavours from everything else. Also create slight ‘well’ in the rice and crack both eggs into the well – U.!
Add mince to the tray, spreading it enough to give it some cutting breadth but also thick enough for it to have some body.

Phase 7: Season the entire dish with listed herbs (above) and cover with cheeses. Seal the tray by folding foil over the top and chuck in the oven, preheated at about 170 °C and leave that shxt for an hour.

Post-cheesing.
Post-cheesing.
Bird call BRRR
Bird call BRRR
The Money Shot
The Money Shot

Final Phase: Bring out and let it cool off just a little. Serve it straight at the table for everyone, chucking on some Bulgarian folk tunes in the background for mood/atmosphere. Goes well with red wine or blue collar vodka.

Наздраве! (nɐ zdɾɐvi)

NB: You can also make a single serving, for those nights when you really want to get in the mood for Game Of Thrones or the porn parody. The clay-pot is essential for authenticity and a bxtch of a cleaning effort the day after.

IMG_20130825_214558

A mighty shalom and yom huledet to GG, it’s his birthday today and he reminds me of a young Giuseppe.

P.S. if you typo the java syntax for non-breaking space “&nsbp;” it looks like tablespoon. This means nothing.

Payce!
 

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