neděle 14. června 2009

The weekend house

We have a weekend house (chata, дача) in Southern Bohemia, near the beautiful town of Pisek. We don't go there as often as I would wish to, but we did this weekend!
After we took care of the overgrown lawn we settled for a traditional Russian style dacha/weekend house/chata meal called Shashlyki. Shashlyk is basically something grilled on a scewer. It can be meat, fish, vegetables etc. The word does not only resemble a dish but is also used to describe a favourite pastime of all people living in the former Soviet republics. "Let's make some shashlyki this weekend" usually means "Let's go out of town, light a fire, eat, drink, have fun". A mangal is something like a grill or barbeque, but not quite. It's shape is fitted to grill food on scewers.

So we had a small fire in our small mangal/grill...

We threw some eggplants, tomatoes and peppers onto the mangal

The vegetables were grilled until totally charred on the outside (but well cooked and juicy on the inside), the charred skins were removed. Then the still hot vegetables were mashed up in a bowl, salt, pepper and butter were added.The result is a heavenly tasting dip/salad. The recipe has a presumingly Georgian/Armenian origin.

Then we grilled some shashlyki and some sausages and bbq wings.

Our shashlyk is pork neck marinated with salt, pepper and onions. Lamb would make a better shashlyk, but good lamb is difficult to find in Prague and it's expensive. When we want some good lamb we go to some Arabian Halal store. Many people marinate their shashlyk with wine, vinegar, lemon juice or some other acidic liquid. This is barbaric in my opinion, it destroys the meat texture and flavour. A classic shashlyk should be made of meat that has some fat on it and should not be marinated too long because we are trying not to overpower the flavour of the meat itself. Onion, salt and pepper are the classic ingredients. The only acidic ingridient I ever (but rarely) use is yoghurt or kefir.

This is what we got at the end of the process.

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