Monday, 30 July 2012

Olympic Food Challenge: Russia - Russian-style Kohlrabi

Unlike most of the countries I drew for the Olympic Food Challenge, Russia gave me quite a peculiar problem.  The internet is literally awash with recipes for Russian food.  In the end, time and my ludicrously low boredom threshold, forced my hand.  I targeted the BBC and Good Food websites to see what I could find.  What I came up with was Russian-style Kohlrabi.  I cannot comment on how Russian this dish is but as we love kohlrabi, there was no way that we were not going to cook it.

Our love of kohlrabi came from the allotment.  We only wanted to grow unusual vegetables and odd varieties of veg that you can't buy in the shops.  I had never had kohlrabi before, but as soon as I saw the seed packet, complete with picture of a turnip crossed with Sputnik, I knew we had to grow some.  Our first attempt wasn't great but the few kohlrabi that did germinate were wonderful, nutty and sweet, somewhere between and apple and a turnip and good both raw and cooked.  We've since had more success growing our own (at one point we were growing multiple varieties) but since R entered our lives, allotment time has been limited so tonight's kohlrabi are shop bought.

The cubed and blanched kohlrabi are gently fried with a softened onion and some bacon and finished with paprika and caraway seeds.  What is there not to like about a recipe that simple?  I was wondering if this should be a side dish, but for the life of me, having eaten it, I can't decide what it would go best on the side of.  That said, I'm stuffed.  Two kohlrabi, a couple of rashers of bacon and half an onion for two greedy adults doesn't sound a lot, but it was surprisingly filling and very tasty.

The only additions were some soured cream and a few hunks of rye bread.  I have a funny feeling the next time I eat this it will be accompanied with a raging hangover.  Every hangover needs bacon*.  The kohlrabi has a mild buttery flavour when boiled but is more complex than potatoes would be and no hangover is complete without some smoky heat from paprika.

Oh, in case you were wondering, Russia are bound to do really well at the Olympics. They always do!

*apart from the vegetarian ones

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