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.