Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Russian Julienne

For Russians, julienne means very popular hot appetizer - mushrooms in a cheesy cream based sauce. Traditionally served in a tiny metal or ceramic individual dishes, called cocottes, it's elegant and lovely starter.

Blog's Category: USSR-era Recipes

Russian Julienne



Intro

For Russian people julienne is, in a first place, beloved hot appetizer. For the rest of the world it's just one of the ways to slice vegetables in a thin long strands. I'll be telling you about the first one. French sounding name jullienne must had come from those old times when, in a begining of a previous century, all Russia was obsessed with a French culture and French cuisine particularly. Though there is no such a dish in a French cuisine, it exists in Russia, Ukraine and probably it is well known on the rest of the territory of former USSR.

I remember julienne from the 90-th, when it was served as a hot appetizer at the one of the best Kiev restaurants named Stolichni. Waitresses were bringing it in a tiny stainless steel dishes with a handle, similar to those on the picture above. Julienne was always very hot, with a tempting cheesy crust on a top and, oh..., so good. Since then, I ate julienne at many russian homes and cooked it myself many times. The recipe below is the result of my experience and, IMHO, the best and most authentic version of it. 

Russian mushroom julienne is somewhat similar to american mushroom sauce but it's bolder and better (no offense!) and deserves to stand on its own as a wonderful appetizer or even entree.

Almost forgot to mention - this dish is not for those weak-nerved "on diets"... Of course, it is all that cream and butter. But hey, it's healthy, and natural, and served in small quantities so is still good for you. Remember? - wholesome and in moderation - that's the key.


What is it?

It is thinly sliced mushrooms, usually champignons, cooked with a lot of onion, cream, cheese with a few carefully selected spices and seasonings and then broiled to finish it up with a tempting cheesy crust.


Taste Description

You must know how awesomely all those cheesy sauces taste... Although, for julienne, it's all that cheesy goodness plus wonderful mushroom flavor, interlaced with onion, wine, light nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper bouquet of aromas. Texture under crispy and chewy cheesy top is smooth and buttery with chunks of perfectly cooked mushrooms and onions.  


How to Serve

Serve very hot, right from the oven, in a tiny, not larger than a cup, individual ceramic or metal bowls. On a side, place toasted bread sticks or slice of a country bread.
Note, don't forget to make serving for yourself, don't count on leftovers - you won't have any :)


Russian Julienne


  • 2 cartons (about 20) white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup of neutral balanced white wine such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 3 cups of chicken stock or hot water
  • 2 pinches of nutmeg (preferably freshly scraped - you can easily scrape from a whole nutmeg with a plain small knife - see the pictures below)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (or other nice melting cheese such as mozzarella, colby, emmenthal, gouda, fontina, muenster or swiss)


- In a large skillet, pour olive oil and cook onion until soft and just started to get some color.

- Add sliced mushrooms and cook on a medium heat, stirring, until all juices from mushrooms are evaporated.

- Add wine and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring. Add some salt, nutmeg and pepper.

- Add cream and hot chicken stock or water, switch heat to the lowest setting and let it barely cook.

- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, on a low flame, make a roux - melt 3 tbs unsalted butter, then add 2 tbs flour and cook it, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until it's slightly, just slightly, beige.

- Add roux and half of the cheese to the mushrooms. Stir it in nicely. If sauce too thick - add a little bit of hot water. Sauce has to be the consistency of a gravy.

- Make final taste adjustments if needed by adding salt, pepper or nutmeg.

- Distribute mushrooms with a sauce evenly between the serving individual dishes, sprinkle remaining cheese on a top and place the dishes under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes or until it forms nice golden crust. You are done with Julienne! Enjoy!


Notes

- Whole process of cooking julienne is pretty brisk if you make all prep work first.
- If you are planning to serve it with toasted bread sticks - do them first: slice your bread into thick sticks, drizzle with olive oil and toast in an oven until golden and crunchy.

*******************************************************************************************************************************
IN PICTURES







Nutmeg just looks tough - in fact it's surprisingly soft, just shave it with a knife!




White mushrooms give away a lot of juices.
 
Usually I eyeball a wine...approximately 1+ cup





Instead of adding chicken stock and cream to the mushroom as I suggest in a directions above, you can add them both into your roux (flour cooked with butter). You'll  get classic bechamel sauce. And then this sauce can be added to the mushrooms.



Sauce has to be very creamy but not thick. Add some hot water if needed to make it thinner. Also you can adjust your cheese depending on how cheesy you want your sauce be.


 

 





4 comments:

  1. your description is mouthwatering...mmm...

    ReplyDelete
  2. We recently learned about this amazing Russian treat. Excellent dish Olga! It's one of those delicious things we really want to try in the future.
    Great work!
    Panos and Mirella

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just made this and it looks delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enjoy! I hope it tastes delicious too ;)

      Delete

I would love to hear from you!