Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Corn pie with leek (Albania)

[ultimate_heading alignment=”left”]

Ingredients

[/ultimate_heading]

Serves four: 

 

Baking tool:

  • casserole with high edge (4 cm)
  • greased

 

Pie:

  • 250 g cleaned leek
  • (with some green leaves)
  • 250 g fresh cheese (ricotta)
  • 5 g salt
  • 175 fine corn flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • butter
  • 100 g grated hard goats or sheep cheese (or parmesan)

 

Side dish:

  • crème fraiche, garlic, salt
  • tomato
  • lettuce
  • cooked green beans

Albania is one of the poorest countries of Europe, looted by many foreign conquerors. The Albanian cuisine does reflect this history. There are clear Turkish influences (since the Ottoman conquests in the 15th century) in this predominantly muslim country. But you can also find restaurants with a purely Russian menu, such as Borsjtsj, Blinis and Steak Stroganoff. For centuries, fugitives from Albania have fled to their neighbours in Kosovo and South Italy. American corn reached Middle Europe in the 17th century during a period of severe famines. It was quickly adopted in Northern Italy as a replacement for spelt porridge. The coarse maize porridge polenta, known as mamaliga in the Balkan, is still a replacement for bread. In the mountains of North Albania, however, a bread is baked from it, as it is in Portugal (Broa). Here an in-between version: Lakror me misri, which shows how a maltreated people can retain its identity through original food.

Currently there is even a movement among chefs to draw attention to the original cuisine. Until recently most people had the idea that foreign food was better. Below is a slightly edited recipe based on Rezepte aus Albanien by Frauengruppe der Deutsch-Albanischen-Freundschaftgesellschaft (1995).

  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
  • Coarsely chop the leek and smother in the butter until soft.
  • Beat the ricotta with eggs and salt. Beat this mixture into the flour, stir in the dill and braised leek with butter. Transfer to the casserole. Grated cheese on top. Bake for 45 minutes on the bottom shelf.
  • Serve in the casserole. Eat warm with a large dollop of crème fraiche stirred with salt and garlic. Serve with a peeled tomato, lettuce and cooked French beans.
  • Freezing in pieces works fine. Thaw in microwave before use. Heat up for 15 minutes at 175˚C.

 

Wine is officially banned in this muslim country, but raki distilled from plums is consumed regularly. I preferred a Pinot noir.

 

Menu suggestion:

 

Starter: Aubergine with garlic (Patlixhan me hudhra)

Serves four: 8 thick aubergine (eggplant) slices coated with oil are grilled until brown. Mix 40 g of chopped walnuts with 1 slice of white bread without crust, soaked in water and squeezed dry. To this, add (corn) oil, vinegar, garlic and pepper and salt to taste. Cover 4 of the aubergine slices with this mixture and some chopped parsley and place the other aubergine slices on top. Stick in a cocktail stick to keep it together. Serve warm with raki.

 

Dessert: Grape pudding (Mostopite)

Serves four: Boil ½ l red grape juice with 4 tablespoons of sugar. Thicken with 50 g of corn starch stirred with some cold grape juice (boil wile stirring until clear and thickened). Pour into 4 small bowls. Decorate with white grapes. Serve cold.

Deel recept