Try my simple version of banush, a wonderful dish from western Ukraine.
With the recent events in Ukraine it has had me thinking of all the lovely Ukrainian friends I've had throughout my life. Many of whom generously introduced me to some of their favourite family dishes like this banush recipe from the western region of Ukraine toward Romania. Romanians will know this dish as bălmuș.
Also sometimes known s banosh, this simple yet delicious dish consists of cooked cornmeal (polenta) with additions like pork fatback (a.k.a. salo), fried onions and mushrooms, and sheep's milk cheese. I have to admit, I don't often have sheep's milk cheese on hand, so this version is simple, but I think it does have the same flavours from that banush I tried many years ago.
I hope you'll give this dish a try and think of all those in Ukraine fighting for their homeland and their freedom. If you are able, consider donating to one of the many charities currently raising money to buy food, medicine, and other supplies for the Ukrainian people. Будьте здорові!
(Makes 4 servings)
1/4lb pork fatback, chopped
2 cups water
1 cup 2% milk (lactose free if needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal / polenta
1/4 cup light feta cheese, crumbled (or sheep's milk cheese)
fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the chopped pork and cook, stirring often, until the pieces are well browned and thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat, and using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the water, milk, and salt. Bring to a simmer then stir in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to medium and keep stirring as it cooks (about 6 or 7 minutes) until the liquid is absorbed and it thickens.
Serve topped with pork and crumbled feta cheese. Optionally, garnish with some fresh chopped parsley and serve with a side of sour cream.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
total calories = 335 | total fat = 22.21g | saturated fat = 8.34g | cholesterol = 29.5mg | sodium = 401.75mg | net carbohydrates = 24.48g | dietary fibre = 2.23g | sugars = 3.2g | protein = 7.73g