Thursday, April 12, 2012
I first cooked this Koulibiaca (koo-lee-BYAHKA) recipe for a Good Friday lunch that we hosted not long after we bought our first home. It was 11 years ago.
It was the first family gathering in that home. A home of much entertaining.
It was a magical day filled with sunshine and laughter. Filled with family and friends of all ages, newborn to grandparents. Most of our family had driven long distances to be there that day. It was the first Easter that my cousin and I had spent together in years. We had missed many family Easter celebrations during our early twenties, as we had been off travelling our own paths. I cooked a large Easter Buffet on this day, but the only thing that I remember well is this dish.
Be prepared, it does fall apart when it is sliced, but all will be forgiven when you taste it. After making it again, I remembered that when I originally made it, I halved the recipe. This made it not so wide and easier to cut.
I have written the recipe here as I cooked it on Friday, but next time I think I might half the recipe. I guess it depends on how many people are coming for lunch.
• 1 kilogram salmon fillets
• 1 onion (roughly chopped)
• 1 stick celery (roughly chopped)
• 1 carrot (peeled and roughly chopped)
• 2 stalks parsley
• 10 peppercorns
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup white wine
• 4 cups water
for the filling
• 100 grams butter
• 1 onion (finely diced)
• 500 grams mushrooms (sliced)
• salt and pepper
• 125 grams long grain rice
• 250 ml vegetable or chicken stock
• 4 hard boiled eggs (diced)
• 2 tablespoons parsley (finely chopped)
• 2 tablespoon dill leaves (finely chopped) for the pastry
• 4 sheets puff pastry
• 1 egg (lightly beaten)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a large tray or serving dish* Add all of the poaching liquid ingredients to a large stockpot and bring to the boil over a high heat. Carefully add the salmon fillets to the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the fish is firm to touch. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon to a bowl to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin and any bones. Separate the flesh into small flakes and set aside.
Melt the butter in a frying pan (with a lid) and gently saute the onion until soft but not brown. Add the mushrooms and fry until cooked. Season to taste. Add the rice to the pan and stir through. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and reduce the heat. Cook until the rice is done, this will take about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Once cooled, add the eggs, parsley and dill to the rice mixture and mix well.
Overlap 1½ sheets of puff pastry onto your greased tray. Put half the rice mixture onto the pastry, then half the salmon, then the remaining rice mixture and the remaining salmon. Put the other 1 ½ sheets of puff pastry on top and seal the edges together. Cut a slit into the top. Use the remaining piece of pastry to decorate the pie and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
•* I cooked the koulibiaca on a tray in the oven and later transferred it to a serving platter - not so successfully. Next time I might cook it in my large lasagne tray or get a helper to help to transfer it onto a platter. No one really likes a pie with the bottom fallen out of it!
• My "Food of the World: Time Life: Russian Cooking" cookbook tells that: koulibiaca is usually served with a jug of melted butter or sour cream - we did not do that.
• My recipe is an adaptation on a Reg Livermore recipe that I saw on TV ("Our House") many years ago.