American writer Darra Goldstein on how to cook pear and carrot relish from the North of Russia

This extraordinary jam-like relish goes equally well when served with roast meat for dinner, as well as with afternoon tea.

Darra Goldstein, the world-renowned food scholar and author of many books ('A Taste of Russia' is just one of them), has been writing about Russian culture and cuisine for almost fifty years. During her visits in the far northern corners of Russia she cooked with chefs and ordinary people in provincial cities and remote villages discovering ancient practices and new flavors. The result of her voyages is a home-style cookbook with a strong sense of place, "Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore". 

Darra Goldstein

The book contains 100 traditional yet surprisingly modern recipes: from pickles, pies, infused vodkas and homemade dairy products to seasonal vegetable soups. They "showcase Russian foods that are honest and timeless in their elegant minimalism," as noted by the author. 

READ MORE: 7 foods you can pickle for the winter, Russian style

Besides summer berry compote and dandelion blossom syrup, we find a recipe for pear and carrot relish that is ideal for a tea party with your friends or which can make the taste of any meat richer. It will surprise your guests, who will have a hard time guessing what it is made of. As Darra Goldstein explains: "It is cooked just long enough for the carrots and pears to absorb the flavor of honey without losing all of their crispness". Enjoy! 

Pear and carrot relish

Ingredients:

Makes five 8-ounce jars

  •       2 pounds carrots, peeled
  •       11 ⁄4 cups honey
  •       1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  •       1 cinnamon stick
  •       2 pounds Bartlett pears, firm but not hard 

Cooking:

  1. Grate the carrots with the large holes of a box grater and place in a large shallow saucepan. Add the honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick. Peel and core the pears; then chop them into 1⁄2-inch dice. As you dice each pear, stir it into the carrot mixture so that they don’t turn brown. 
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated. Be careful not to let the mixture scorch. 
  3. Ladle the relish into sterilized jars and seal. Once cooled, the relish can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. For longer keeping, process the jars for 10 minutes in a hot-water bath, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Reprinted with permission from Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore by Darra Goldstein, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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