This is a nostalgic recipe for me: borscht, a soup from the former Soviet Union. Probably the reason why there are still fights who can call it a national dish. Whereas Russia has declared the dumplings called pelmeni its national dish, Ukraine claimed borscht, the soup with red beet, a national treasure. However, quite a few of the former states of the union serve a variety of this famous soup. The main ingredients are usually red beet and cabbage. In the Ukraine typically it will be served with sour cream, dill, and vinegar. Since I got used to the version from my grandma, who was born in Odessa, Ukraine, it probably comes as no surprise that I will introduce the Ukrainian version here.
I would like to start off 2024 with a stew from the north of Spain. The two main ingredients are potatoes and chorizo sausage. Normally the stew is seasoned with either the paprika paste called “pimiento choricero” and/or with the smoked paprika powder “pimentón de la vera”. Here in Germany you will find smoked paprika powder, so that is why I went with that. However, feel free to order the “real” ingredients online. I got to learn about this dish in the north of Spain. It comes from the region La Rioja. Quite a few of the relatives of my husband live there. I love this stew in winter, it is hearty, warming, and it is pretty easy to prepare. We are fortunate enough to receive a parcel with chorizo and such every Christmas, so we don’t have to improvise or replace ingredients. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Arroz con pollo can be translated as “rice with chicken”. This is a one-pot meal popular in all of Latin America. Each country has their secret ingredient, each one swears their version is the best. Below version is popular in Colombia aka is the recipe from my mom-in-law. Yes, it contains the three main components, rice, chicken, and vegetables. But my mother-in-law likes to spice it up using some sausages in addition. She also swears by preparing each component separately to keep the rice moist. It is only at the end that she combines all the three. So this is not the traditional way of preparing this meal, but I have to say, I like her version a lot. Otherwise you may end up with a pretty dry dish.