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Archive for the ‘Meatless’ Category

postheadericon Pa Dutch Braised Red Cabbage

I have a very special fondness for the traditional German and Pa Dutch “sweet/sour” flavor. And since cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables, I am always looking for ways to serve it to keeps things exciting!. This dish features the very traditional “Dutchie” sweet/sour flavor and uses red cabbage (and BACON!!). I love this braised cabbage alongside roasted pork loin, roast beef, or even turkey, but my absolute favorite way to enjoy this is alongside a lovely piece (or two) of pan-fried fresh (or smoked) sausage made by one of the many local meat shops or butchers still plentiful in the Coal Region;  the sausages nestled next to a mound of fluffy mashed potatoes or browned butter egg noodles.  Budget friendly, left-over friendly, and very easy to prepare, I encourage you to give it a try. (And if you can, get some true, country style bacon from one of the great butchers, shops, or farmers’ markets in the Coal Region or Pa Dutch country, too!)

Pa Dutch Braised Red Cabbage

Pa Dutch Braised Red Cabbage

German Braised Red Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 10 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 medium tart apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir the cider vinegar and sugars until sugars are dissolved. Add cabbage; toss to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan or dutch oven with lid, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain.
  3. In the drippings left in the pan, saute apple and onion until tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in water and cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, several more minutes or until cabbage is tender. Sprinkle with reserved bacon before serving.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/21/pa-dutch-braised-red-cabbage/

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postheadericon Handmade Pierogi

Ah, the beloved Coal Region favorite — pierogi. Not only do many meals revolve around pierogi, but it is the center of much social interaction, especially in generations gone by.  “Church ladies” gather in church kitchens and turn out pierogi for fundraising sales, block parties, or church festivals by the hundreds of dozen — and we Coal Region folks are quite willing to stand in long lines at those events to get them. (You meet nice people standing in the pierogi concession line.) Pierogi is a a traditional food in many cuisines of Eastern Europe and they found themselves becoming a staple in the Coal Region thanks to the influx of immigrants to the Anthracite region who came to America to work in the mines. What started out as a peasant food has evolved into a true classic. Pierogi are not difficult to make.  I repeat – not difficult!! Therefore, I suggest you pass over the in-the-grocery-store frozen variety and, at least once in your life, MAKE YOUR OWN! This recipe for the dough includes sour cream; some recipes do not, but I believe the addition of sour cream makes a more tender dough and I had an iconic “church lady” assure me that was correct (so, that’s good enough for me). Pierogi are filled with savory or sweet fillings, and I have included the very popular potato and cheese filling and a sauerkraut and potato filling. This recipe  makes a LOT, but if you are making pierogi, it makes sense to make a bunch and freeze some for future use. However, you can scale it down. They freeze wonderfully and last a long time in the freezer.

*** READ BEFORE STARTING THIS RECIPE and KEEP THESE POINTS IN MIND ***

  • You do not NEED fancy equipment to form pierogi.  All you NEED is your hands, a 3-3/4 to 4 inch round item capable of cutting the dough – like a drinking glass, and a rolling pin  Anything more than that — like an electric stand mixer, a metal cutter, or pastry brush to wet the dough edges for sealing is icing on the cake.
  • You do not have to complete all the steps involved at one time or in one day.  You can make the filling(s) a day or so ahead, make the dough the evening before, and put them all together the next day.
  • The water for cooking should be kept at a boil and they will float to the top when finished cooking.
  • When cutting circles of dough, cut as closely together as possible to get as many as you can from the rolled out dough. The scraps can be gently gathered and placed together to roll again and cut.
  • Your pierogi should be nicely filled, with no air bubbles inside, and just enough dough rim around the edge to assure a tight seal when pinched shut.
  • Pierogi can be frozen raw or cooked. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange raw or cooked, cooled pierogi, making sure the ends don’t touch. Place in freezer. Freeze until solid, remove them from the tray and place in freezer bags. If frozen un-cooked, boil to cook when ready to serve.

Handmade Pierogi

Yield: 14 to 15 dozen

Handmade Pierogi

Making Homemade Pierogi

Ingredients

    For the Dough
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups water
    Potato Cheddar Filling
  • 5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 lb good quality sharp cheddar cheese, grated (use really good cheese!)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    Sauerkraut Filling
  • 2-1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups sauerkraut
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    Making the Dough
  1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix sour cream, water and eggs until well blended.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour,/salt mixture and pour in the sour cream/water/eggs mixture. Mix together by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer until it comes together adjusting with additional flour or water 1 tablespoon at a time until a pliable, soft dough is formed.
  3. On a lightly floured surface (or in the stand mixer) knead until the dough is no longer sticky and the surface is smooth.
  4. Remove from bowl, cut into four equal pieces, flatten into a disk and wrap each in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight before rolling out.
    Making the Potato Cheddar Filling
  1. Place peeled, cubed potatoes into a pot and cover them with cold water. Salt the water to taste (potatoes need a generous amount of salt). bring to boil, reduce heat and cook until fork-tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan then add the onion and some salt and pepper and cook slowly until the onion is soft but not browned.
  3. Drain cooked potatoes and let sit to dry or return to pot and shake lightly over low heat to evaporate any remaining moisture.
  4. While potatoes are still warm, mash them until smooth. Add the cooked onions and butter, the sour cream, and the grated cheese and mix very well. The potato mixture will be stiff. Make sure to season well with salt and pepper. Cool completely or refrigerate until ready to use.
    Making the Sauerkraut Filling
  1. Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil the potatoes in generously salted water until fork tender. Drain in a colander and allow to dry for a minute or two. Mash with a hand masher until fairly smoothly mashed. Add the sauerkraut, panko crumbs and sour cream. Season with salt & pepper and mix together. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
    Assembling the Pierogi
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Line some baking sheets with parchment to hold the uncooked pierogi.
  2. Take one disk and, flouring surface lightly, roll out the dough to about 1/8th to 1/16th inch thickness. Make sure it is not sticking while you roll it out and move it around as you need to.
  3. Brush off any excess flour and use your cutter to cut circles from the rolled dough. Remove the scrap pieces and store them covered to re-roll the scraps together later.
  4. Brush the edge of each circle with your finger or brush lightly dipped in water.
  5. Place about a spoonful of filling in the center of each round. Fold the dough in half around the filling and pinch the edges closed (you can also crimp the edges with the tines of a fork to help assure sealing). Any filling at the edges will prevent the edges from sealing properly. Press out any air bubbles as you seal them up. Lay the pinched pierogi on the parchment lined trays.
  6. Drop pierogi, in small batches, into the gently boiling water. Once they float, cook another minute, then remove with a slotted spoon. Keep the water boiling while cooking.
  7. At this point, you will likely lose some to poorly sealed seams or breakage.
  8. When all are cooked, either eat or freeze!
  9. A popular way to serve pierogi is topped with sauteed onion in butter. Roughly chop or thinly slice some onion, melt some butter in a frying pan, add salt and pepper to taste and saute the onions until soft and lightly browned. Add the boiled or thawed pierogi, heat through and brown one side of the pierogi lightly if desired.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/03/handmade-pierogi/

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postheadericon Polish Kopytka

Kopytka means little hooves in Polish; the little shapes are supposed to resemble cloven hooves. ( kapytki in Lithuanian cuisine). Kopytka are very similar to Italian gnocchi in that they are made from cooked potatoes, egg, and flour.  Kopytka is not the same as Polish potato dumplings (Kartoflane Kluski) which uses grated raw potatoes in the dough.  These little pillow of deliciousness have made many a Coal Cracker happy when they appear on the table for a meal.  So many of us remember our Nanas making them. The mashed potatoes for Kopytka need to be on the dry side, so don’t use leftover mashed potatoes that you’ve prepared with milk and butter. Kopytka is often served with buttered breadcrumbs (polonaise style), gravy, pan drippings, or fry the dumplings to brown them, or fry and serve them with goulash. There are a lot of ways to serve and enjoy this Coal Region favorite!

Polish Kopytka

 

Kopytka

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, cooked in their jackets, peeled and mashed or run through a food mill
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or as needed
  • Polonaise Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Place mashed potatoes in a large bowl.
  2. Add egg, salt and flour as needed to form a smooth, cohesive dough without overworking it (the dough will be tough if overworked).
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  4. Lightly flour your work surface and hands and roll pieces of the dough into "ropes" about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut at an angle into approximately 1 inch to 1-1/2 inch pieces. Repeat with remainder of dough.
  5. Drop the cut dumplings into the boiling water. Avoid crowding and work in batches if necessary. Return the water to boiling, reduce to slow boil and cook 2 - 5 minutes, testing for desired doneness.
  6. Remove cooked dumplings to a colander and drain.
  7. If serving Polonaise-style, prepare topping by melting the butter in a small fry pan. Add the breadcrumbs and fry for 3 - 4 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer drained dumplings to a serving dish and sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs on top.
  8. Note: If serving these dumplings with pan juices, omit the Polonaise topping step.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/18/polish-kopytka/

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postheadericon Schmearcase (Cottage Cheese) and Apple Butter

This is not a “recipe” in the typical  sense, but is definitely a comfort food enjoyed in the Coal Region and PA Dutch country and I felt it deserved a shout-out. It is not at all unusual to find it on salad bars or as a side dish offering in restaurants and diners in the region. Its popularity does extend to other areas, including the Baltimore, MD area. In Pa Dutch, cottage cheese is known as schmearcase  (smearcase). You can make your own schmearcase, but the extensive availability of commercially made cottage cheese means I just buy my favorite brand and go from there. Being in the Coal Region and Pa Dutch country, I have easy access to a  multitude of brands of apple butter so, once again even though I CAN make my own, I often just purchase a jar from a local market. If you do not have access to small batch producers of apple butter and want to find it in stores, Musselman’s Apple Butter is distributed nationwide, so check with your local grocer. I like both large curd and small curd cottage cheese with apple butter.

Schmearcase and Apple Butter “recipe”
Cottage cheese of your choice
Apple Butter of your choice
Take a dab of apple butter and plop it on to a mound of cottage cheese.  That’s it!

I like my schmearcase and apple butter in lots of ways. Just to name a FEW:

  • In a bowl (then I swirl them together)
  • On toast
  • On graham crackers
  • On rice cakes
  • On freshly baked, still warm homemade bread (yummmm!)
  • On a toasted English Muffin
  • Between two slices of bread as a sandwich

Schmearcase (Cottage Cheese) and Apple Butter

Schmearcase and Apple Butter Sandwich

 

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postheadericon AuGratin Cabbage

I love cabbage. It is the Pa Dutch and Eastern European influence of the Coal Region that introduced me to this lovely veggie as a child.  I love it in cold dishes and I love it cooked. Add cheese and buttery crumbs to the mix and I cannot wait for this casserole to come out of the oven. It consists of a smooth, creamy, cheesy sauce tossed with par-boiled cabbage then topped with buttery crumbs and baked until browned and bubbling. It is a wonderful way to use up that partial head of cabbage in the veggie bin. For an extra cheese kick, use finely crushed cheese crackers like Goldfish or Cheez-its for the topping crumbs. Either give the cracker a whirl in the food processor until fine, or place the crackers in a zip lock bag and pound with a rolling pin.  Shake the bag periodically to move the larger un-crushed pieces around and repeat until all the pieces are finely crushed.

AuGratin Cabbage

AuGratin Cabbage

Ingredients

  • Approximately 4 cups shredded Cabbage, medium shred (about 1/2")
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 T butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed crackers OR bread crumbs (Goldfish, Cheez-it, Ritz, Keebler Club crackers, etc)
  • 2 T melted butter

Instructions

  1. Cook cabbage in a small amount of lightly salted water with a pinch of sugar added. Do not overcook, should be tender-crisp.
  2. Prepare sauce:
  3. Melt 3 T butter in sauce pan, add flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes to cook the flour. Add in milk gradually. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted and smooth.
  4. Drain water from cabbage. Alternate layers of cabbage and sauce into a greased casserole.
  5. Melt 2 T butter and toss with the 1/2 cup crumbs of your choice until well coated., Sprinkle top of casserole evenly with crumbs.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or till bubbling and crumbs are browned.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/09/augratin-cabbage/

 

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postheadericon Browned Butter Egg Noodles

It does not get any simpler than this…Tender cooked egg noodles tossed with nutty, roasted browned butter and bread crumbs. I am Dutchie and Coal Cracker through and through and never met a noodle I didn’t like.  Top them with browned butter and I am in love. This is a dish that can accompany many meats and vegetables as a side, especially yummy with gravy or sauces, but I have a confession — I love them all by themselves, nestled in the middle of a warm plate, just begging to be adored and devoured! My childhood is filled with memories of Mom making these and they are still an absolute favorite of mine. A tip: do not walk away while browning the butter.  It can go from “not-quite-there-yet” to “well, that didn’t go as planned burned” almost in the blink of an eye.

Browned Butter Noodles

Browned Butter Egg Noodles

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dried egg noodles, size noodle of your choice from thin to very wide
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
  2. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until brown, watching carefully to make sure it does not burn. Heat slowly, stir often, and DO NOT WALK AWAY!
  3. Once lightly brown and emitting a slight "nutty" fragrance, immediately remove from the heat.
  4. Add breadcrumbs and stir until the crumbs are well coated. Add the drained noodles, toss to coat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle with the parsley when serving. Serve immediately.
  6. Notes: You can use more or less butter as desired. When browning butter, stir at the bottom of the pan. That is where the butter browns and burns the fastest. If your pan has a dark interior, you will have to scoop some of the butter into a spoon to check the color.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/19/browned-butter-egg-noodles/

 

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postheadericon Amish Baked Corn

Corn dishes are a staple in Pa Dutch country.  Frozen can also be used, but I prefer well-drained Niblets for this recipe. This is often served on holiday tables. This is a super-easy side dish to dress up any meal.

Amish Baked Corn

Amish Baked Corn

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels OR 2 cups canned whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2/3 c. butter, melted
  • 1 can cream-style corn
  • 1 box Jiffy corn bread mix

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Beat eggs; add sour cream. Stir in melted butter, corn and corn bread mix. Pour into buttered 9 x 13-inch dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until slightly browned. Do not over bake.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/12/amish-baked-corn/

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postheadericon PA Dutch Red Beet Eggs

Also known in some places as “pickled eggs”, these are well known in the Coal Region, thanks to the Pa Dutch influence in the county.  Every recipe is a little different but these are easily adaptable to fit your taste.  Want them a little more sweet? Increase the sugar.  More “zippy”? Decrease the sugar. Skip the spices altogether or add just a cinnamon stick, some ground clove or allspice or use pickling spice mix. Add finely sliced onions or not…the choice is yours! Many grocery stores now sell already cooked and peeled eggs for those who do not feel like cooking and peeling hard-boiled eggs. For a primer on how to cook hard-boiled eggs, visit http://dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-boil-an-egg/

Don’t rush into eating these for several days. You want the lovely purple color of the juices to make their way into the egg white. Three days minimum is the norm. I personally like to let them sit longer – until the purple makes its way entirely to the yolk.

Red Beet Eggs

PA Dutch Red Beet Eggs

Ingredients

  • 2 1-pound cans tiny whole beets, drained with juices reserved
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons (optional)
  • 12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • dash of pepper
  • OPTIONAL:
  • 6 whole cloves or some pickling spice, cinnamon stick, etc. Your choice!

Instructions

  1. In large glass jar or non-reactive container, place peeled eggs at bottom, top with onion slices if using, and add beets on top. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-size nonreactive saucepan, combine sugar, beet juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cloves (or your choice of spices if using). Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Immediately pour simmering liquid and spices over beets and eggs. Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate a minimum of 72 hours before serving.
  4. Cook's Hint: Use these for making deviled eggs using your favorite deviled egg recipe. I have been doing this for years and people LOVE them!
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/10/pa-dutch-red-beet-eggs/

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postheadericon Easy Pierogi Casserole

Marry the tastes of traditional pierogies — potatoes, sauteed onions, and butter — into an easy to make, serve, and enjoy casserole.  A great way to use left over mashed potatoes or grab a couple ready-to-eat containers of mashed from the grocery store!

pierogie-lasagna

Pierogi Casserole

Easy Pierogi Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 box lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 2 (24 oz) packages grocery store potatoes OR 5-6 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 stick of butter, sliced in 16 slices
  • 18 slices American Cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a skillet, saute diced onions until translucent, set aside.
  3. Empty mashed potatoes into a large mixing bowl and stir/fluff with a fork.
  4. In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish, layer lasagna noodles, scoops of 1/3 of the mashed potatoes, 1/3 of the sauteed onions, 5 slices of butter, and 6 slices of American Cheese. Repeat layers twice more (3 layers total).
  5. Cover loosely with foil, and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/08/easy-pierogi-casserole/

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postheadericon Bleenies

Bleenies in the Coal Region are potato pancakes.  They are delicious and are known to be the source of lines around the block at church picnics, block parties and ethnic events in Anthracite Country. Many people alter their recipe to their taste, this is one basic version.

bleenies

Bleenies (aka Potato Pancakes)

Bleenies

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes (grate on fine grater)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 onion (grated like the potatoes, you want the onion juices, too)
  • 2 or 3 tbsp. flour
  • Cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients. Spoon mixture - about 1/4 cup into the hot oil (don't put too much oil in the pan; just enough to cover the bleenies as they fry). When they are lightly browned on one side, gently turn bleenies to fry the other side. Serve with salt or vinegar. Good with sour cream, applesauce, or pork & beans.
  2. Note: squeeze excess moisture from potatoes after grating to help in reducing amount of flour needed to form batter. Salt to taste after frying to avoid drawing more moisture from the potatoes.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/08/bleenies/

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