Tell me about peasant foods from around the world that I need to cook.
October 10, 2009 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Tell me about peasant foods from around the world that I need to cook.

Lately I've been really into making coarse, rich, simple food prepared in big batches. Stuff like colcannon and rillettes. This has given me a strong desire to find out more about peasant foods (simple foods, staple foods, if you like). Could you tell me about them, and how I cook them? I am especially desirous of such information about cuisines I probably don't know anything about. So if you know what your grandfather eats in Armenia, or your aunt in Laos, I would love to know that too.

Oh, and I will eat anything except melons and avocados, and will be really happy if your recipe includes intestines or something. Fermentation also a plus.
posted by voronoi to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 118 users marked this as a favorite
Locrio de Pica-Pica- Dominican Spicy Sardines and Rice. The recipe linked is pretty large, but it can easily be scaled down and adapted to what you have on hand.
Gallopinto- Costa Rican or Nicaraguan Black beans and rice. Here's an OK recipe. The trick is all in making a decent Sofrito to start things out.
Pupusas- Fried, stuffed masa. Wat more could you want?
posted by piedmont at 1:23 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ooh, I love colcannon. So easy to make and it is really filling.

Ossobuco is pretty good, but I wouldn't call it simple, cheap or ethical if that's your thing, since it's veal.

Haggis and black pudding are both really very good, and as far as I understand it, not all that difficult to make. All I can say about the black pudding is that the texture may not be to your liking but if spiced right, it's delicious and a fantastic start to a really cold day. Haggis is made with, among other things, a sheep's stomach and various other parts, and black pudding is made with pig's blood (usually, although I've heard that other blood is fine).
'Course, I'm veggie now so I can't really give you recipe tips :P
posted by neewom at 1:26 PM on October 10, 2009

Migas from Portugal
posted by vacapinta at 1:41 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Dutch stamppot is almost exactly like colcannon. I like it with endives and speck or back bacon (stamppot rauwe andijvie). Hutspot is similar but different; it involves carrots and onions. For something not involving potatoes, there's erwtensoep (requires liking of peas).
posted by transporter accident amy at 2:06 PM on October 10, 2009

Never thought I'd say this to anyone, but you might actually like the dutch cuisine. Google for stamppot and you'll get quite a few recipes, like fx:

boerenkool stamppot

If you like your harty and rich foods slightly more adventerous than that, try the belgian versions called stoemp. Here's one. Here's another.
posted by Sourisnoire at 2:16 PM on October 10, 2009

posted by kylej at 2:22 PM on October 10, 2009

You think your school lunches were bad? The best meal my school served was blood pancakes. Enjoy! (And don't forget the lingonberry sauce.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:45 PM on October 10, 2009

My favorite husmanskost (Swedish peasant food) is hands down Palt. Sometimes called Pitepalt (for the city of PiteƄ, although it's eaten in most of northern Sweden) it's a dish made from ground raw potatoes and a mix of wheat and barley flour, then stuffed with pork and boiled. Eat it with lingonberry jam and butter. Sometimes pig or raindeer blood is mixed in with the potatoes to make Blodpalt.

Video of my grandmother making Palt, and a Picture of the meal (self links)

In the south of Sweden they make a similar dish - but with boiled potatoes, not raw - called Kroppkakor.
posted by gemmy at 2:46 PM on October 10, 2009 [6 favorites]

Feijoada con arroz? Ubiquitous in Brazil.
posted by ashaw at 3:06 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

How about red beans and rice? or grits/polenta? The later topped with sauteed mushrooms or cheese makes a hearty and delicious meal.
posted by mmascolino at 4:04 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

A Colombian friend told me about arepas -- quite tasty.

I don't think she'll mind me sharing her recipe for cheese arepas, which I have found to be reliable. The dough freezes well.

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup water
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup white cheese shredded (you could also use a mixture of farmer's and feta cheese)
1/2 cup colby-monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup buttermilk or hispanic cream

- Combine cornmeal and water in a bowl.
- Add cheese and then buttermilk.
- Heat a non-stick skillet (low).
- Roll mixture into a ball and place in pan and flatten into a pancake, about a 4 inch circle.
- heat for about 5 minutes, continually checking that it does not burn.
- when it is golden brown flip over to other side for about five minutes.

"Cornmeal" is NOT cornmeal, though, but arepa flour, like so. Don't substitute. I have found it in a number of ethnic food shops here in not particularly Latin Ottawa, including non-"Latin" ones; it is not too hard to track down as these sorts of things go.
posted by kmennie at 5:03 PM on October 10, 2009 [5 favorites]

Paella is/was a peasant dish.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:14 PM on October 10, 2009

This page has a bunch of Mennonite recipes. The ones that you might be interested in are listed below, with anchor links where possible:

SAUERKRAUT SOUP (about halfway down the page)
WURSCHT BUBBAHT (Breaded Casserole with Sausage)
HOLUBTCHI (Cabbage Rolls)

The Holubtchi are a staple of family get-togethers; they take a little more assembly time than some other main dishes but the flavour combinations are strong and worth the effort. The only thing to note is to cook them long enough to properly soften the cabbage; don't take them out early.

There's a Mennonite cake recipe that has fermented ingredients as well:
Sauerkraut chocolate cake

And for visual novelty, this is the only dessert soup I know of whose colour is a mauve or light purple:
PLUMUH MOUS (Hot or Cold Soup made with Dried Fruit)

Must admit I've never tried the sauerkraut cake; not sure I can brave it. But the Plumuh Mous is to die for. And very easy to throw together.

Most of these (and the other recipes on the page) are done in large batches but scale down quite well.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 5:29 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

posted by The Michael The at 6:19 PM on October 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 7:42 PM on October 10, 2009

Hoppin JohnOnion, black-eyed peas and rice. It doesn't get any better than that!
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 8:05 PM on October 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

You could learn how to cook an Afghan Pilau. There is also Uzbeki Pilau which is slightly different, the rice is stickier and cooked in the meat sauce.
posted by thewalrus at 9:05 PM on October 10, 2009

My mum loves the book European Peasant Cookery. From that book, here's a recipe for potatoes with apples and bacon.

I grew up with and still love Yorkshire Pudding - I don't have a recipe, because, um, I've never used one. It's an egg (always a single egg - this is cheap cooking), milk, flour batter. Make sure the roasting tin is covered with fat, and really hot before you put the batter in. Cook until it's done!

I also have an unreasonable love for jam roly-poly.
posted by Coobeastie at 3:02 AM on October 11, 2009

Response by poster: This is very good. I am very pleased with you guys. Especially excited to try palt, cioppino, and Afghan pilau. Keep it coming if you have more suggestions, MeFites.
posted by voronoi at 5:23 AM on October 11, 2009

We brought a CATAPLANA cooking pot home from Portugal. Simple way of cooking fish/potatoes/veg all together. Really delicious and economical. Lots of recipes online.
posted by cameronfromedinburgh at 8:12 AM on October 11, 2009

I've been subjecting my roommates to peasant food for awhile--mostly Soups and stews have because they feed a lot of people, and you can easily stretch the portions. I'm not going to write out all the recipes, but you can mail me if you want the specific recipes or google 'em--these are really common recipes.

here are the top 4:

Quinoa Soup from Ecuador, with cheese, Annato butter and kale

Pork and Cabbage Soup from Poland-braised pork, and sauerkraut (sounds weird, but is really good)

Sausage, Mushroom and Kale soup from Italy, use dried Porcini mushrooms--they're amazing.

Braised Lentils in a Tomato Sauce with Bay Leaves--I learned to make this in Greece, a bunch of lentils and Tomatos with garlic, oregano and bay leaves.
posted by geryon at 9:20 PM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also awesome - Egyptian kushari. Wiki link because I've only eaten it, not cooked it, so I'm no judge of a best recipe.
posted by aimedwander at 7:50 AM on October 12, 2009

Tagines are great "one-pot" dishes. It's basically a conical lid that goes over your cooking pot, allowing steam to run down the sides while braising. My favorite recipe involves chicken, olives, apricot/preserved lemons, and ras al hanout; served over couscous. There are a million variations though -- lamb or kefta (meatballs) in place of chicken, various spices, various fruits, almonds or pistachios, etc.

You will have to buy a tagine, though I think it's a useful thing to have lying around the kitchen anyway. I've had luck finding them pretty cheap at (surprisingly) TJ Maxx as well as "World Markets" or importer/exporter retail spaces.
posted by devnall at 10:48 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Great question. I recently started making ful medames for breakfast. Covered in lemon and olive oil, it's pretty delicious and fast. It's super easy and fast to make if you can get cans of fava beans. If have time and you're feeding a family, or want to save money, dry beans are a better option.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:50 PM on October 13, 2009




Aglio e Olio.


These are just a few of my favorites.
posted by kaiseki at 2:45 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

You may want to Google cucina povera to unearth dishes from the Italian tradition of making hearty, delicious but simple economical dinners. My favorite examples veer Tuscan and Roman and include panzanella (bread and tomato salad), pappa al pomodoro, pasta e fagioli, cacio e pepe, and tuna and cannellini beans (best hearty summer salad EVER...just the beans, canned tuna if that's all you've got, garlic, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley).
posted by ifjuly at 2:00 PM on March 23, 2010

Huitlacoche - delicious!
posted by Brent Parker at 9:56 AM on July 17, 2010

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