Estonia

In mulling a second stop on my NaBloWriMo project, I came across a news article on an Estonian engineer who’s just begun an around the world trek in his amphibious vehicle. Estonia it is!

Destination: Republic of Estonia
Where: A Baltic State of Northern Europe, west of Russia and south of Finland
Snapshot: Held by the former USSR for fifty years, Estonia regained independence in 1990. Home of the first decorated Christmas tree in Europe (1441). One of the most wired countries in the world, thank Estonia for Skype!
Medieval towns, rich folklore, secluded beaches, and the tallest building in the world, if it was still 1519 (St. Olaf’s Church in Talinn).

Time for dinner!
Heavily influenced by surrounding countries, the peasant-style cuisine springs from hearty, simple fare. Pork, potatoes and rye bread are staples; food is commonly preserved and so chutneys, pickles, jams, and jellied foods abound. Fish is also plentiful, typically sprats, eel, and herring.
Specialties: Boiled pork in jelly, blood sausage, marinated eel, black bread
Extra special: leivasupp, sweet soup made from black bread and apples, with sour cream, cinnamon and sugar.
Drink up! Kali (a kind of unfermented beer), local beer, vodka, and milk

Recipe:
Sült (brawn)

1lb leg of pork (with bones and skin)
2 pig trotters
1 medium yellow onion, unpeeled
1 carrot, unpeeled, chopped roughly
10 black peppercorns
6 allspice berries
1 bay leaf
2 tsp sea salt

Rinse the meat and trotters well. Fill a large pot with cold water, add meat. Bring to a boil and let boil 4-5 minutes, then discard water and rinse meat. Return to pan, cover with boiling water, and bring to simmer.
Cook gently, skimming foam, over low heat for one hours. Add carrot and onion and continue cooking for 2-3 hours, until meat falls away from bone. Add peppercorns, allspice, bay leaf and salt and cook for 10 minutes more.
Remove the meat from the pot, allow to cool then chop into small pieces. Strain the stock, and return meat and stock to pan. Bring to boil then remove from heat.
Pour into several smaller containers and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until set. The sult will keep for a week, refrigerated.
Serve with boiled potatoes, pickles, and mustard.

Learn more about this Baltic gem here.

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