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Gef端llte Gurken

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 April 2011 at 09:33
From Time-Life's Foods of the World - The Cooking of Vienna's Empire - 1968:
 
Quote Gef端llte Gurken
Cucumbers Stuffed With Ham and Sour Pickles
 
To serve 6 to 8
 
2 cucumbers, 6 to 8 inches long
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 boneless sardines
1/4 pound boiled ham, diced (1/4-inch chunks)
2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsley chopped
2 teaspoons finely  chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced sour pickles
1 teaspoon prepared French mustard
2 to 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, freshly made or a good commercial brand
 
Cut 1/2 inch off the tip of each cucumber, then peel the cucumbers with a vegetable scraper or sharp knife. Cut out the seeds and center pulp with a long iced-tea spoon (or melon-baller) leaving a shell about 1/4-inch thick. Pour 1/4 teaspoon of salt into each cucumber, rubbing it in evenly with your forefinger. Let the shells stand about 15 minutes, then dry them inside with a piece of paper towel.
 
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mash the sardines to a paste with a fork or wooden spoon. Add the ham, eggs, onions, pickles, mustard and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Stir the ingredients together until the mixture holds its shape with a spoon. (If it seems too dry, add more mayonnaise.) Taste for seasoning. The amount of salt will depend on the saltiness of the sardines and the ham.
 
Stuff the cucumbers by standing them on end and spooning the filling in, tamping it down with a spoon as you proceed. When they are all tightly packed, wrap them separately in wax paper or aluminum foil and refrigerate them for 2 hours, or until the filling is firm.
 
To serve, slice the cucumbers, on a slant, in slices about 1/2-inch thick.
 
I've been interested in trying this one ever since I first saw it some time ago while flipping through my newly-acquired Vienna's empire volume of the FOTW series. It looks like a crisp, refreshing light lunch or appetizer for a spring or summer day outside.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote butchloc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 April 2011 at 11:16
sounds like 100% summer picnic fare
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2011 at 05:25
I'm picking up the ingredients for this one today...it sounds like a real winner to me.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2011 at 07:17
i agree, dave - i'll be trying this one this coming weekend, but if you make yours before then, let me know how it turns out. it looks like a keeper!
 
here is a preparation picture from time/life's foods of the world - the cooking of vienna's empire, 1968:
 
 
in doing some reading, i found that it is considered part of austria's "modern" (modern in the late 1960s, at least!) table fare, which is heavy on the meats, carbs and other heavy foods. in spite of this, the austrians do take their fruits and vegetables seriously, and often enjoy a refreshing salad with thier calorie-laden meals. that's the gist of what i read - i'll see if i have a little more information when i post this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2011 at 13:40
Well here you go Ron...I made it this morning. I started out with most of the correct basic ingredients, except boneless sardines. Didn't have a sardine in the house without bones in it, so I used some Kippered herring fillets instead.



I pared and peeled my cucumbers and got out both my melon baller and my apple corer to see which would work the best.



As you can see from the following shots, the apple corer is definitely the instrument to use! Wow, that thing did a great job.

 
 


While all this was going on, I put the eggs on to boil....boiled them gently for ten minutes, then I put them in ice water for ten minutes. They peeled like a dream using my egg tip from another post.
While that was going on I chopped up the remaining ingredients and put them in a small bowl.

 
 


Mixed that all up with the mustard and mayonnaise and put it into my handy-dandy caulking gun looking kitchen gadget that I use to stuff things with.



I took the decorative tip off the stuffer thingy so the large pieces could come through and just jammed it into the end of the cukes and pumped away....worked like a charm.



Put them in the fridge for a couple of hours, then sliced on a bias and sprinkled with that nice Asian pepper flake stuff Rivet sent me.


The Verdict:

Deliciouso! these things were really great tasting...in fact I might advise you to use smoked herring instead of sardines if you make it...the smokiness came through it all and was wonderful. I did, however have qa problem with too much moisture in the stuffing, or in the cucumber itself. I would advise you to let the cucumber sit for at least an hour after you salt it, and make ever effort to slide a paper towel inside it and get that extra moisture out.

All said and done...this is a winner! thanks for the recipe Ron, it's a great one!
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2011 at 13:48
now those look absolutely perfect! great job on the preparation, and no worries on the herring fillets! i have a feeling that they would be just as "authentic" and, in fact, i was thinking of using anchovies if i couldn't find boneless sardines in my area.
 
that apple-corer works very well, i must say! i haven't seen one of those around, but will do another check on payday. i was going to simply get a melon-baller (i had one, but....kids!) but judging by the your results, that might be the way to go! like your stuffer, too - very similar to a jerky gun  that i use for ground-meat jerky and snack sticks etc.
 
also, thanks for the preparation tips ~ the fillets i use will be limited to what i can get, so it might be herring, or sardines or anchovies. we'll see what happens there. i am thinking that smoked trout would really work well!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2011 at 02:58
I'm sure smoked trout would be delicious as well Ron.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2011 at 16:27
alright, this was an interesting and enjoyable one ~ fasten your seatbelts and let's go!
 
here are the goods for a double batch (not pictured - the onion):
 
 
speaking of the onion, i figured that since we have the technology, we might as well use it in order to get some consistently-minced components, which would result in a better product - or, at least that was the theory, which turned out to hold up rather well!
 
with that in mind, i used our food processor to finely-chop the onion:
 
 
the pickles:
 
 
and the ham:
 
 
things were cruising right along, and then i cast my eyes upon the boneless/skinless that i had found:
 
 
many of you who have been following this recipe might be thinking: fish? mixed with everything else? and then put in cucumbers??
 
no worries, the sardines (and i suspect many other tinned and/or smoked fish) worked very, very well with the ambient flavours here, complimenting them and bringing out the best qualities in each other.
 
but let's not put those in the food processor, ok? we'll deal with those later. right now, let's turn our attention to....the eggs! i reserved the yolks and ran the whites through the food processor:
 
 
and finally, i peeled the cucumbers:
 
 
now came the tricky part - which is hollowing out the cucumbers:
 
 
i didn't have an apple corer, and couldn't find one at wal-mart; so, i grabbed a melon-baller instead. once i got the hang of it, it worked pretty well:
 
 
the trick seemed to lie in "corckscrewing" the small end of the melon baller whilst gently pushing it down the length of the cucumber; this caused balls of cucumber core to drop out like eggs.
 
you want to hollow out a cucumber to a point that is past halfway, then flip it around and work inward from the other end, until the two tunnels meet.
 
but there was definitely a learning curve:
 
 
the danger here is getting too close to the edges - you want at least a quarter-inch outside edge throughout the cucumber. based on this, my advice is to use an apple-corer (if you have one) for small-diameter cucumbers, and a melon baller for larger-diameter cucumbers. if you can't find an apple-corer, make sure your cucumbers are big around!
 
anyway, as the balls of cucumber plopped out, i saved them, then put them with some salt and pepper into a solution that was about 50/50 vinegar (i prefer white but today i only had apple cider, which works fine) and water, to serve as a sort of salad for another meal:
 
 
these are really good!
 
next, i put a bit of salt down into each cucumber and rubbed it around all over the inside as well as i could:
 
 
the effect was immediate - water started to practically run out of the cucumbers, which is what we want in order to release excess moisture.
 
i stuffed a paper towel through each one to soak up the water:
 
 
and also wrapped paper towels around each cucumber. this method worked pretty well, and i let those sit and "drain," rotating them a half-turn now and then, while i prepared the filling....
 
time to turn our attention back to the sardines! rather than use the food processor, i simply used a fork to mash the sardines well:
 
 
and then i stirred in the other "dry" ingredients:
 
 
eggs (mashing the yolks, first), pickles, onions and ham accoring to the measurements given in the recipe (x2 for a double batch).
 
after that, i added the mustard and half the mayonnaise, keeping in mind the admonition of the recipe:
 
 
for the mayonnaise, i used some really good stuff that dave sent from rhode island, which comes from an old, local recipe. i was very impressed with the eprfect flavour that it provided, and heartily recommend it to anyone who can get it!
 
in this case, half the mayonnaise listed in the recipe seemed to be just right, providing the exact texture that i needed without being too wet or dry. i tasted the filling and it was really good! the saltiness seemed to be just right, so i didn't add more. i thought about adding pepper, but it's not listed; for the first time making something, i usually try to follow a recipe as close as possible, unless a clear reason for not doing so presents itself.
 
so, filling ready, i began stuffing it into the cucumbers, using narrow spoon and working it in from both ends:
 
 
i was sure to tamp it in tight as i went, and this worked quite well. had i thought of it, i would have used my jerky gun, but this was fine, too.
 
as i loaded the cucumbers, i sat them end-up on paper towels, as the moisture was still running out pretty well:
 
 
as you can see, quite a bit of water was soaked up.
 
after filling them full and pressing in from both ends too pack the filling well, i wrapped the cucumbers as tightly as possible in saran wrap:
 
 
and put them in the fridge so that they could firm up and the filling could set.
 
after about two-and-a half hours, i took the cucumbers out, unwapped them and began slicing them:
 
 
they were a little soft from the moisture that was still in them, but other than that, things worked very well! i think that when i make this again, i might double-or triple wrap the cucumbers in paper towels before the saran wrap, in order to soak this moisture up. as it was, the liquid is unable to drain off and i think they got a little soggy, but no worries - everything worked just fine:
 
 
here we are, all plated up and ready to serve:
 
 
the taste....was great!
 
they were an immediate hit, and provided a very refreshing light lunch. the flavours all worked well, and as i said above, even the sardines played their part, adding a savory briney-ness to the sour from the pickles and the tang of the mayonnaise - all of that working very, very well with the freshness of the cucumber.
 
this is definitely a spring or summer treat to enjoy at any event, but it seems especially suited for an outside thing like a picnic or party ~ give it a try!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote got14u Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2011 at 20:03
Oh man these are cool....they look and sound great!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2011 at 03:14
You did a great job on those Ron....I'm happy the Siedner's worked out ok.
I think you had the right idea with the paper towels and saran wrap...maybe wrap them tightly in the paper (a layer or two) and then the saran and let them set up sure seems like the right thing to do. I'll certainly do it the next time I make them.

They sure do look great...better than mine did...it's obvious you were having less trouble with the moisture than I did.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2011 at 08:51
hey, jerod - u will love these if you try them and they will impress any family or guests who try them too!
 
dave - i remembered your frustrations with excess moisture and tried to pre-emptively combat the problem. if one can manage that aspect, then it's easy street all the way to the end. i used a lot of paper towels, that's for sure!
 
the seidners was perfect for this - i am sure that any mayonnaise would have been adequate, but this one definitely took it up a notch and put it into high territory!Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aspen Hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2011 at 15:22
Just reading some of the fascinating recipes and really liked this one.  I would suggest NOT putting salt inside the hollowed out cukes at all once you've gotten it properly cored.  I would only salt to taste the filling mix or, even better, salt the slices just prior to serving.  As soon as you salt plant material it breaks the cell walls down and releases the water.  So the salting seemed pretty weird to me, makes a flabby cucumber.  Big smile
 
I will do it this way when I have time to prepare this recipe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 October 2011 at 08:48
g'morning, ann - you make a good point about the salt - the reason does specify it, presumably to draw out some moisture, but perhaps it is too much and/or not even necessary.
 
Give it a try, and see what happens!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 January 2016 at 13:47
Absolutely amazingly a gorgeous ..  I shall make this next week !  Love the idea ..  

Thanks for posting.  

Have a lovely evening. 
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