28 March 2011

My First Guest Post: Nachinka by Dine and Write's

In my search on Twitter a few days ago for fellow Poles and other Slavs and Eastern Europeans who blog, I discovered Liv from Dine & Write.  Her blog is about cooking, her background is Polish and Danish, and she also speaks English.  All in all, she's very interesting to talk to and of course, a member of Ze Bloc Blog.

Here is her guest post:

The ultimate Slavic comfort food

There are some heavy hitters in terms of Slavic comfort food: perogies, cabbage rolls, nalesnyky... These are all very well and good, but for me, nachinka trumps all of these. Nachinka, for those who are yet uninitiated, is a thick, baked cornmeal pudding. It may be thought of as the Slavs' answer to polenta, and many versions exist. My version is traced to my maternal grandmother's mother. As I write this, I just finished eating the last few bites of the nachinka I prepared earlier in the day, taking care to scrape up the delicious browned bits at the bottom of the pot. It's remarkably easy to prepare; detailed instructions follow. Smacznego!

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup yellow cornmeal
5 cups warm milk
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
4 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 whipping cream or half-and-half
1 tsp baking powder

Assemble your ingredients (cute whisk is optional).

Saute onion in oil over medium heat until translucent.

Slowly and thoroughly stir in cornmeal.

Constantly stir over medium heat until cornmeal thickens (~10 min).

Continue stirring until mixture is very thick.

Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cream and baking powder. Reserve 4 tbsp for topping.

Stir egg-cream mixture into cornmeal until thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat.

Scrape cornmeal mixture into a deep, well-buttered casserole. Pour reserved egg-cream mixture over the top. Bake at 325 deg F for 45-60 min, or until nicely browned.

Enjoy as a stand-alone dish or as an accompaniment to ham or chicken.

 And that, dear readers, is nachinka.  Each golden forkful is a trip to my grandmother's sunlit kitchen, where a well-worn gravel road runs past the sizable garden, something always smells delicious, and peace is found.


After reading this recipe, I recall having this as a child and cannot wait to go to the store to buy cornmeal and whipping cream, my two missing ingredients.  Smacznego is right!


stephanie said...

Another member of Ze Blog Bloc, our ranks are growing! Welcome, Liv, and thanks for this recipe. I love polenta and can't wait to try the Slavic variation.

Liv V. said...

I'm smiling ear to ear to be on your blog!