My grandmother will tell you just how much I loved these simple meatballs in white sauce growing up. I’m not quite sure who they will play with a non- Bulgarian audience, but I love them to this day so wanted to share them with you. First of all, the meatballs are boiled instead of fried or baked and contain rice. Second of all, meatballs and Fricassee sauce is not a very usual combination… but give it a try! Who knows, maybe you’ll love it too.
This recipe used savoury (chubritsa) which is an ingredient that can be hard to find in the UK. Savoury is very integral to Bulgarian cuisine and it’s very commonly used in our dishes. I’ve added a link to amazon below but if you are really stuck you can use marjoram instead.
More in meatballs: Vegan chickpea & squash ‘meat’ balls with vegan mayo, Swedish Meatballs with Potato Salad
Bulgarian Meatballs in white Fricassee sauce
Serves 4 | Prep 15 mins | Cook 40 mins
- 500g pork mince;
- 1 onion, finely chopped;
- 75g rice;
- 4 eggs;
- Savoury (chubritsa);
- 3-4 tbsp plain flour + extra for the meatballs;
- 500g yogurt;
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped.
To make the meatballs, mix the pork mince, onion, rice, one egg, 1/2 handful chopped parsley and a generous pinch savoury. Form meatballs roughly the size of a golf ball in your hands. Add a couple of tbsps flour to a plate and coat the meatballs with it. In a deep sauce pan boil about 1 litre of water. When boiling, add the meatballs and let them cook for 30-40 minutes, gently simmering, until ready.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Whisk the eggs with the yogurt and the flour. Set aside until the meatballs have finished cooking.
When the meatballs have finished cooking, add 2-3 ladles of the meatball stock, taking care to add it slowly and stir well so the eggs don’t scramble. Mix well and then add to a deep frying pan. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened, adding the meatballs for the final 2-3 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes and sprinkled generously with chopped parsley.
I grew up eating my mum’s pancakes on weekends, and it’s legit the best smell to wake up to. As an adult now, I still think this is the best smell you can have in the morning. And seeing that it’s Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday, in the UK – I thought it’s appropriate to post a pancake recipe that’s just slightly different.
Other pancake recipes: Large, fluffy pancakes with pancetta & maple; Buttermilk pancakes with caramelised bananas and brazil nuts; American blueberry pancakes; Rainbow Crêpe Cake.
Palachinki (Bulgarian Crêpes)
Serves 4-6 | Prep 10 mins | Cook 20 mins
Tip: You can make the batter the night before to save sometime in the morning.
- 2 eggs;
- 300 ml milk;
- 2 cups flour;
- pinch of salt;
- 2 tbsp caster sugar;
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil;
- butter (for cooking).
Sift the flour in a large bowl. Mix with a pinch of salt and caster sugar. In a jug, whisk the eggs with the milk and sunflower oil. Make a well in the flour mix and slowly add the milk, mixing continuously. Mix until there are no lumps in the batter. Keep an eye on the consistency – you don’t want it to be too watery so just add less milk/more flour until you are happy with the consistency. Crepes require a thin batter but a batter too thin will make the creps difficult to handle and turn.
Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium hot. Melt a knob of butter in the pan. Pour a few tbsps of batter/small ladle into the pan and swirl each to coat the pan evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the edges begin to brown, then flip the crepes and cook for an addition 1-1 and half minutes and leave to rest on a plate and leave in a warm oven. Repeat until you run out of batter.
Serve with any toppings you like. My favourite is jam, but they are fantastic with chocolate, lemon juice or even savoury (if you omit the sugar in the batter).
Shopska Salata is a firm staple in the Bulgarian kitchen. Often served as a starter, or as a side, you will find it on the table of almost every Bulgarian home and on the menu of pretty much every restaurant in Bulgaria. It’s delicious, easy to make and perfect side to any meal.
Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | No Cook | Easy | Gluten-free, Vegetarian
- 2 large beef tomatoes;
- 1 cucumber;
- 1/2 or 1 small red onion;
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley;
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil;
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar;
- 75g feta cheese;
Roughly chop the tomatoes, quarter and slice the cucumber, finely chop the onion and mix in a salad bowl with the parsley. When you are ready to serve, add the oil and vinegar and mix the salad. Crumble the feta cheese on top of the salad and serve.
You would have no doubt heard of the dish Moussaka. It’s a very popular dish from the Balkans and the Middle East, usually made with potatoes or aubergines and minced meat. In the UK the most popular variety is the Greek one, which is made with aubergines and lamb mince. However, the Bulgarian version uses potatoes and a mix of pork and beef mince. This is one of the most popular dishes in Bulgaria and a firm favourite for any Bulgarian.
Serves 6 | Prep 10 minutes | Cooks 1 hr | Easy
- 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil;
- 300g pork mince;
- 200g beef mince;
- 2 onions, finely chopped;
- 2 tomatoes, chopped;
- 1 tbsp tomato puree;
- 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped;
- 1 tsp dried savory (it’s not a very popular herb in the UK, but you can get some from amazon here);
- 1 kg potatoes, pealed and cubed;
- 250 ml vegetable stock.
For the topping:
- 2 eggs, beaten;
- 1 tbsp plain flour;
- 400g yogurt;
Pre-heat the oven to 240C/ 220C fan/gas mark 7. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and mince until the onion has softened and the mince has browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, savory and the parsley. Season to taste.
Cook for a few minutes before adding the potatoes and add the stock. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the potatoes soften a little bit. Transfer everything into a large enough roasting tin and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.
For the topping: beat the eggs, flour and yogurt. Take the moussaka out the oven, cover with the topping and bake for another 10-15 minutes until browned. If you are struggling to get a nicely brown colour on the topping, put under a hot grill for another 5 or so minutes.
Serve with some yogurt on the side, Bulgarian Shopska Salad and with a sprinkle of parsley.
I hope you will enjoy yet another Bulgarian recipe and if you were looking for more, there are a few more on the blog.
Kurban Chorba is a Bulgarian soup of Turkish origin. It refers to a chunky soup of boiled meat, usually beef or lamb. It’s a very filling and warming soup which was just perfect for the “Snowmaggedon” days in Glasgow where the whole city was pretty much closed for a day and a bit. As I had to work from home for a couple of days it was great to have the time to have and cook a delicious home made comfort food for lunch. I decided on this soup as it was very meaty and just the perfect thing to have while watching the snow fall outside. It also took me about 5-10 minutes to put together and let it cook for an hour on it’s own.
It reminded me of being out in the Bulgarian mountains during winter and stopping at a “Hija” (Hee-zha), Mountain hostels/bothy, after a walk in the cold. Hope you enjoy yet another introduction to Bulgarian cuisine.
Beef Kurban Chorba (Beef Soup)
Serves 4 | Prep time 10 mins | Cook 1 hr | Easy | Gluten-free
Tip: you can also add some tomato puree to strengthen the tomato in the soup, add green beans or peppers.
What you need:
- 30g butter;
- 300-350g beef or lamb meet, cut into chunks (stewing cuts are fine);
- 1 onion, chopped;
- 1 litre – 1 1/2 litre strong beef stock (depending on the size of your pan)
- 2 celery sticks, chopped into chunks;
- 2-3 carrots, chopped into chunks;
- 2-3 potatoes, chopped into chunks;
- 2-3 tomatoes, chopped into chunks;
- handful parsley, finely chopped.
To make the soup:
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the beef (or lamb) and brown well for 5 minutes. Add the chopped onions and cook while stirring for another couple of minutes until softened. Add the stock, vegetables and seasoning. Cook the soup for about 45 minutes to an hour to allow the meet to soften and cook through. When ready, serve into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread on the side.
I hope you enjoy this simple recipe!