February 26, 2011

Bibimbap (Mixed rice with vegetables) - Bulgarian style

This delicious dish is a perfect refrigerator cleaner. You can use any type of vegetables, meat, or cheese to compose this dish. It is an ideal food to serve when you have friends over. Just prepare everything in advance and arrange in individual clay pots. Bake and serve when your guests come.

6-8 servings

  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 different colors bell peppers, julienned
  • 1 bunch of collard greens (or spinach), julienned
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 chicken thighs, cut into small bites
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups steamed rice

 First steam the rice.

Till the  rice is cooking, clean and slice the vegetables. 


Brown the chicken in 1 tbsp oil. Add spices to your taste, such like salt, fresh ground black pepper, cumin, and savory.

Take out the chicken, add a another tablespoon of oil and saute the onions. Season the vegetables.

Turn the oven on to preheat to 400 F. Next saute the peppers, and the jalapenos.

Then the Collard greens. Add oil if needed.

Arrange the ceramic pots on a cookie sheet. and start layering the ingredients. Start with the rice.

Next add the carrots, onions, peppers, greens and the chicken. Crack an egg on top of each, add a pinch of salt and black pepper on the egg.

 Place the lids and bake for 30 minutes. Take out the lids at the last 10 minutes.

Pour a glass of red wine and enjoy!

February 08, 2011

Mint Chicken Stew

This is another meal my children adore, so I am publishing the recipe per their request.

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into large cubes, or 6-8 chicken thighs 
  • 2 big carrots cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 lb potatoes, cut into big, ~1 inch cubes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dry mint
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • salt to taste
  • fresh parsley
In a big pot saute the chicken in the olive oil. Add the mint, the salt, and the onions.

Add few sprinkles hot red pepper flakes.

Cook until the onions become soft. Add the sweet paprika, the carrots and the tomatoes.

Add 3-4 cups water or chicken broth, close the lid and cook it until the chicken and the carrots are ready, about an hour. Then add the potatoes. While the potatoes are cooking take out a cup of the stew sauce in a bowl and wait for 5 minutes for it to get colder. Mix well the flour into the sauce and pour it back to the pot. Cook for another 15 minutes till the potatoes are ready and the sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with salad and bread.

February 01, 2011

Pickled Vegetables - "Trushia"

Pickled vegetables, a.k.a. turshia or trushia, as it is pronounced differently in different parts of Bulgaria, is an excellent accompaniment to meat dishes. Typically it is made in the late fall with the last load of vegetables picked in the home gardens. Made in huge amount, the turshia is then stored in the darkest and coldest places of the houses to last till spring. In the older times people ate only produce in season, so the typical winter diet consisted mainly of grilled pork cutlets, and home made sausages,  pork stews with potatoes, beans, pork cooked with pickled cabbage, and of course turshia. All the households in the villages had pigs and the killing and processing of the meat from the pig, usually happening around Christmas, was a pleasant occasion for family and friends gatherings and celebrations. The trushia had permanent place on the tables, used as an appetizer that people had when drinking rakia and a side dish for the meat dishes. Every family had their own recipes, or tips and tricks, and there was always a silent competition going on of who makes the most crunchy, fresh and delicious turshia.
These days, when we eat fresh vegetables all year round, we don't make turshia very often. It happens once in a while, usually around Christmas, to follow the years-long  tradition and satisfy the cravings we usually experience. 
A friend of mine DM gave me this simple recipe for a quick turshia. It gets ready in 2-3 days. There are variations of what types of vegetables you can use. In addition to my list below, you can add regular cabbage, green tomatoes, and small sweet peppers. The original recipe recommends slightly grilling the tomatoes and peppers before adding them to the mix.

This is what I used:
(Adapted from the original recipe)
  • 2-3 heads cauliflower, cleaned and cut in small pieces
  • 8 - 10 carrots cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 5 celery stalks, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 lb peppers cut in pieces. I use different colors peppers
  • 1 head garlic, each clove peeled and cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 bunch of parsley

  • 300 g vegetable oil
  • 500 g sugar
  • 200 g salt
  • 700 g apple cider vinegar


Boil the marinade and leave it aside. Mix all the vegetables, with the exception of garlic and parsley, in a big pot. Pour the marinade over the vegetables. Be careful not to use very hot marinade, because the vegetables will loose their crunchiness and become mushy. Cover with plastic foil or a lid and leave it for 24 hours in a cool place.
On the next day, add the garlic and parsley. Pack the turshia in glass jars and store in the fridge. If you live in a cold weather you can keep it outside. Usually the turshia is ready for eating in 2-3 days.