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A Fire-Dish from a Russian Tsar Table: Pot Roast

A Fire-Dish Pot Roast

Cooking meat on fire was typical of almost all nations in the world. In Russian cuisine, as well, a pot roast takes pride of place. It was served even to Russian tsars.

Pot Roast – a Festive Dish

In a book from the 17th century a pot roast was mentioned among other festive dishes on the table of the Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.

In the Christian calendar there are a lot of fast-days. That is why major holidays, which were preceded by lengthy fasts, were accompanied by loud festivities and feasts.

A roast, in essence,is meat cooked over an open fire. That is how usually poultry, whole chunks of pork, beef or venison were cooked. However, most often beef was used.

Beef Roast

The most accurate recipe of a traditional Russian roast was given by a chef and historian William Pohlebkin. According to his recipe, you should take a piece of boneless beef that weighs no more than 2.5 kg. The fat from the meat should be removed, and later used for frying. The meat is fried whole on a hot skillet until a golden crust is formed. At the same time it is sprinkled with shredded carrots (1 piece is enough), onions (2 pcs.), parsley (1 root) and spices (black pepper, bay leaf, ginger). After frying, the meat is placed in the Russian oven for 60 to 90 minutes. Every 10 minutes the roast was splashed with kvass. A few minutes before the end of cooking the juice from the roast was collected in a cup, diluted with water and cooled. It was later used as a sauce for the meat.

How Roast was Served

When the roast was ready it was sprinkled with salt. When the meat cooled off a little, it was cut into pieces across the grain, sauced and served. Pot roast was never served cold. This dish was always to be enjoyed freshly cooked.

As a side dish different vegetables were used: roasted potatoes, boiled carrots, mushrooms. Pot roast was accompanied by pickles – sauerkraut, pickled apples, pickled cranberries and compotes – onion, cranberry, or cabbage.

Pot roast was a favorite dish of people from high society. Hot, flavorful meat is still today an indispensable attribute of Russian festivities.

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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