A few weeks ago darkcargo’s blog stated that it was National Knish Week. Interestingly, the week before smitten kitchen published her post about making knish. Due to this congruence of blog posts, I decided it was in my best interest to try my hand at this wonderful sounding dish.
Knish is originally an Eastern European food brought to the U.S. by Jewish immigrants. It consists of potato (yum) and caramelized onions (also yum) wrapped inside of pastry (everything is better with pastry). Clearly this is my kind of food, so I tried out the recipe on the smitten kitchen site. Basically it’s just boiled and mashed potatoes with the onions wrapped in the pastry. I decided to add a bit of mature English cheddar to the mix (although I think I could have used more) and bacon. I know that bacon is probably the worst decision to add to a traditionally Jewish dish, but for me, bacon is the perfect additive to a dish with potato and onion. So I did it. I went against tradition and religion and put some fried pancetta in with the mixture. I made up the pastry and the filling, rolled up the knish and put them in the oven. They turned out amazing looking. Perfectly golden brown.
Was it delicious? Yes. It probably needed more salt and more cheese. Like a lot more cheese. A knish reminds me of a dry cheese and onion pasty. Maybe a bit of fresh or dried thyme (or some other herb) would pep it up a bit too (either in the mix or the pastry). I decided to serve my knish with some out of season chestnut and mushroom soup. Living in the UK, you can get chestnuts year round in the freezer, and I’ve started to become very attached to the delicious roasted nuts. I’ve even been known to throw them in with my roast veg for a Sunday roast. (Just don’t over roast, they get really crunchy).
Basically the soup was just shitake and chestnut mushrooms that I sauted in a bit of butter and olive oil with sauted . I added some brandy after a bit, and let it boil off. I added in some roasted chestnuts and roasted shallots to the mix. I topped it up with about a liter of vegetable stock. I added a bouquet garni to the mix and a spoonful of truffle honey, and I let it simmer for about half an hour or so. Then I removed the bouquet and put it all in the blender. At this point I should have strained it through a sieve to get rid of the chunks, but I was being lazy. The soup was mostly smooth though, with only a few chunks left behind. I put it back in the pot and added a bit of cream to smooth it out and thin it out, and I was done. I served it with a knish, and it was done. (I’d put a real recipe down, but I usually cook by feel, unless I’m baking then I’m a bit more precise.)