As many of you know, I like to cook. Well, mostly I like to eat. Cooking is just the necessary step before eating.
When Chance and I first started looking into adopting internationally, we began talking about ways to preserve our children's heritages. I immediately thought of food...
In 2010, when we applied to adopt from the Philippines, we talked about trying foods that were common in that country. I discovered a recipe for Pancit that has become a family favorite (partially because it is easily converted to gluten-free). It makes a regular appearance in our menu plans.
After visiting Bulgaria, we tried to come up with some foods that might remind Nasko of his Bulgarian roots. Because of his limited options in the orphanage, we knew most of the foods he had been exposed to - bread and butter, tomatoes, cucumbers, fish (breaded), eggs (fried and hard boiled), yogurt, and cold soups. During the time between our visit to Nasko and his homecoming, I saved recipes for dips containing cucumbers and greek yogurt. I bought cucumbers and cut them to be eaten raw. I perfected the process of hard boiling eggs.
And then Nasko came home. And then for the first two months, Nasko refused to eat any familiar foods.
Goodbye Bulgarian heritage?
The two foods that Nasko would eat that have ties to his Bulgarian roots? Kielbasa and bananas. Both foods were served only during special events or holidays. (Bulgarians only eat bananas at Christmastime. Nasko now eats them daily.)
We've cooked kielbasa as a breakfast meat frequently, but I recently remembered a dinner recipe I tried this winter with the main ingredient of kielbasa.
Well, actually the main ingredient was chicken sausage, but I never follow recipes completely...
The recipe also called for apple cider, but all I had was apple juice. Again, I never follow recipes completely...
So tonight, in order to preserve Nasko's Bulgarian roots, we're eating
Chicken Sausage Kielbasa in Apple Cider Apple Juice.
Here's Martha Stewart's original recipe, in case you are interested. Such a fuddy-duddy that Martha. Always having access and funds for the perfect ingredients. That's not so true of the Newingham family.
So here's what the Newinghams are eating tonight:
Kielbasa in Apple Juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large yellow (or whatever was cheapest at Aldi) onion, cut into one-inch wedges
1 pound kielbasa, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon sage
3 cups apple juice [Cider would have thickened up. Apple juice was just used like a marinade.]
salt and pepper
In a large skillet or shallow heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and sausages and cook until sausages are deep golden brown, 6 minutes, turning sausages and stirring onion halfway through [kielbasa is actually precooked. I just warmed the babies up in the skillet]. Add sage and cider [juice] and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook until cider [juice] is syrupy and coats the back of a spoon, about 30 minutes.
Eat and be happy. Think of Bulgaria. Or just tell Nasko that he's getting fat hot dogs for his supper...
I have also saved the apple-juicey marinade by freezing it. Then I just place the kielbasa and onion into the juices and let my crockpot do the work for a few hours. This allows you to skip the skillet step the second (or third!) time you make the recipe. [That's actually how tonight's dinner was prepared, if I'm being honest!]
Let me know if any of you try making this - real recipe or Newingham version! I have a feeling Nasko's going to love it...