From the Bible of Serbian Cuisine
I was delighted to learn that Mimi from an excellent Serbian blog, Mimi's Kingdom has initiated a monthly cooking challenge (Patin petnaesti) based on one of the oldest and most popular ever Serbian cookbooks - Big National Cookbook (Veliki narodni kuvar) by Spasenija Pata Markovic (pictured below). It's had more than 20 reprints over the years and yet I never had a copy in my hands. It kind of lost popularity for awhile, only to become the best selling cookbook ever and chronically sold out.
The lady in question with a degree in food preparation and household organization from the prestigious Vienna School at the beginning of the 20th Century, entered history as one of the pioneers of emancipation of Serbian women, oddly enough by teaching them how to master the skills that were thought to be a core reason for the lack of emancipation and freedom - cooking and household running. But she knew better than that, she had a vision of a modernised Serbia where households are run by European standards by women with a great deal of knowledge about improved living conditions and about food and their nutritious value and in that spirit, she wrote the first cook and advice book in 1907. That was the base for what today many consider to be the Bible of Serbian cuisine.
When I read this recipe, the first though that came to my mind was that she would have given Julia Child a good run for her money if they had a chance to enter #Professional Masterchef together.
As you can expect from the recipe written at least 60 years ago, it's rich by today's standards of cooking, but it can also easily be adapted to those standards. This is the original recipe and I will leave it to you to decide what to do with it - if anything..
photo from "Novosti" archive
100 kohlrabi diced
1 large carrot diced
100 g petite pois
1 small potato cdiced
50 gr celery stick chopped
1 small yellow pepper chopped
70 g root celeriac diced
2 tbsp fat (oil, lard or butter)
3 slices stale bread. diced
small bunch of finely chopped parsley
cup of vegetable stock
50 ml milk
8-10 tbsp flour
Cook all the vegetables over a low to medium heat. Stir and add small amounts of stock from time to time until the vegetables become soft. Fry the diced bread with a little oil and mix to combine well with the vegetables, add parsley. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with milk, salt and flour until your dough is thick enough to be scooped with spoon and keep its form. Now add it into the vegetable mixture and combine. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
Bring a large pan of salted water to boil, form the dumplings by taking small amount of the mixture to the floured palms of your hands and roll into small balls.Cook for around 10 minutes (depends on size) then drain on kitchen towel or over cooling rack. Serve warm, poured with breadcrumbs lightly toasted on butter and sprinkled with grated cheese and herbs (parsley, chives..)
Instead of pouring it over I briefly dropped the dumplings into the pan with toasted breadcrumbs and swirl them around which gave more solid and thicker coat of breadcrumbs.