Exploring melange of European flavors


April 04, 2007|By Susan Reimer | Susan Reimer,Sun reporter

Black Forest Cuisine

The Classic Blending of European Flavors

The Eastern and Central European Kitchen

Contemporary and Classic Recipes

By Silvena Rowe

Interlink Books / 2007 / $29.95

Like Walter Staib, Bulgarian-born Silvena Rowe introduces us to a European culinary tradition with a native's authority. And, like Staib, she made her reputation outside her homeland - England, in her case - only to return to her roots.

The food of Russia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland has an extraordinary range and a melange of flavors, including meat stewed with plums, pumpkin or pomegranates, lots of nuts and vegetables, yogurt and powerful cheeses. But like the food of Germany, it has been influenced by French haute cuisine, a refinement demanded by the aristocrats in the days of the czars.

Rowe's book is not an organized march through the courses or the seasons. It is more of a free-form ride from flavored vodkas and caviars that include nuts and vegetables instead of fish eggs to a whole chapter on dumplings. And, as in Staib's book, the reader is forced to cast off any uninformed notions of a hearty, heavy and monotonous cuisine.


Veal Medallions in Mushroom-Cream Sauce

Serves 4

1 veal tenderloin (about 2 to 3 pounds), sliced into 1/2 -inch medallions


freshly ground white pepper

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (divided use)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided use)

3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

12 white button mushrooms

juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

3 tablespoons brandy

1 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup prepared brown sauce or demiglace

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Place each piece of veal between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and pound into 1/4 -inch-thick medallions. Season medallions with salt and white pepper and dredge in 1 cup flour, patting to remove any excess, and brown on each side in 2 tablespoons melted butter for about 2 minutes. Remove and cover to keep warm.

Add the shallots, sauteing until softened and translucent, about 1 minute. Slice mushrooms, toss with lemon juice and add to the pan with the shallots, sauteing until any liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the brandy and simmer for 1 minute. Add the wine to deglaze, stirring to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in cream and bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat.

Place remaining butter in a small bowl and knead in remaining 3 tablespoons of flour a bit at a time to form a beurre manie. Add to the sauce a little at a time until incorporated, then add the demiglace, stirring for about 1 minute until the sauce thickens. Toss in the parsley and season with additional salt and white pepper.

To serve, arrange several medallions on each plate, spoon some of the sauce over the top and garnish with parsley. Serve with egg noodles.

Note: The sauce is the star of this recipe, so if you can't find a veal tenderloin or if the price is too dear, try it with a pork tenderloin.

From "Black Forest Cuisine: The Classic Blending of European Flavors"

Per serving: 866 calories, 50 grams protein, 48 grams fat, 27 grams saturated fat, 57 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 290 milligrams cholesterol, 313 milligrams sodium

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