Grandma’s Eastern European favorites. Part 2


Brisket is a family favorite. It’s great as a dinner item with potatoes or a squash dish. Our absolute favorite is to coarsely grind some of the meat the next day and use it to fill ravioli or Pierogis. Now, that’s a treat. 


  • 1 3-4 lb brisket
  • 2 onions
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1-2 lg cans tomato purée.
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika


  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Pierce the brisket with a knife a few times
  3. Mix the pepper, salt and paprika and rub it into the meat. You don’t need to use it all. It’s just to give some additional flavor.
  4. Sauté the onions in oil until they’re translucent
  5. Add the tomato purée and garlic cloves
  6. Let it simmer while you sear the brisket
  7. Sear the meat in a hot skillet to brown the outside
  8. About 5 min per side
  9. Place the brisket in a Pyrex baking dish
  10. Cover with sauce
  11. Bake, covered at least 3 hrs
  12. Check it a couple of times to make sure that it’s covered in sauce
  13. After 3-4 hrs uncover and bake 30 min
  14. Let it cool down a little before you slice it
  15. Serve with some of the sauce from the dish on top

If you have extra sauce, save it. You can use it on pasta later.

Bread Dumplings

These are Brother Scamper’s childhood favorites. Grandma made them with a loin of pork and a side of sweet and sour cabbage. He ate the dumplings with meat, we smothered them with cabbage. What a fantastic meal. 


  • 1 lb stale French bread, cut into cubes. About 1 inch
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c Breadcrumbs if needed


  1. Heat the milk until it starts to bubble along the edges
  2. Place the cubed bread in a large bowl and pour the hot milk on top
  3. Toss to cover all of the cubes
  4. Let it sit for 15 min
  5. Sauté the onion in butter until it’s starting to brown
  6. Let it cool a little
  7. Add the eggs, butter and onions and salt to the bread and mix by hand
  8. It should be moist enough to stick together but not wet.
  9. Boil a pot of water
  10. Make a ball of dumpling in your hands. About the size of an orange
  11. Drop it gently into the water. If if falls apart it was too wet. Just scoop it out, throw it back in the bowl and add 1/4 c of bread crumbs
  12. Simmer the balls for 20 min
  13. Fish them out and serve

Beef Stroganoff

Everyone loves beef stroganoff on a chilly night. It’s one of those standard comfort foods. It’s just so darn tasty. Saucy meat on noodles, it’s a classic


  • 1 lb well marbled steak, sliced thin
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 c crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 c beef stock
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 c creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 lb egg noodles cooked according to the package


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy cast iron skillet or a heavy skillet without a nonstick coating
  2. Fry the beef until it’s brown about 5 min
  3. Remove the beef and set it aside. Leave the butter in the pan
  4. Add the oil if needed and sauté the onions until soft and translucent 7 min
  5. Add the mushrooms
  6. Sauté about 15 min
  7. Sprinkle in the flour
  8. Stir to mix
  9. Add the stock, slowly, stirring constantly
  10. Simmer until it thickens
  11. Stir in mustard
  12. Add the seared beef
  13. When the meat is heated through, remove from the heat
  14. Immediately, stir in a little more than 1/2 of the creme fraiche or sour cream
  15. Serve over egg noodles
  16. Garnish with chopped parsley and dollops of sour cream.

Tomorrow: Olga, the matchmaker’s Russian recipes for love

She swears by them!

Enjoy Grandma’s favorites

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The Scamper

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