Cooking Albania: Tavë Kosi

I’m not a food blogger. I like to eat, and I’m good at that, but writing about eating is a whole different skill set. A skill set I have not worked very hard at developing. And don’t get me started on food photography. I’m not even a beginner at beginning to learn that…

Also, food blogs often irritate me (that’s a whole other post), and kill my motivation to write. So, I’m way behind on a very fun and worthwhile side of this project.  I’d love to say that I’ve turned some kind of corner, but who knows…the proof is in the blog posts, right? Onward and upwards.

Albania! You have REALLY GOOD food!

For those of you who haven’t been introduced, please meet your new favorite comfort food: Tavë Kosi. Simple, but rich, it has all the flavors you want during the colder months. I’ve been making this on the regular for quite some time now and it’s a favorite in my house; I was notified recently that after Peasant’s Cabbage and Bacon from Poland, this is my spouse’s top pick from this blog adventure.

Tavë kosi

Adapted from a recipe at BBC Food

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2lb boned lamb shoulder, cut into 2in cubes ( I use beef, actually. Don’t tell anyone)
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4.5 tbsp long-grain rice, rinsed
  • 3.5 tbsp plain flour
  • 2.5 cups Greek-style yogurt
  • 4 eggs, beaten ( I used 5 this time. Why not?)
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to finish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Reading about Albania: Broken April

With my reading choices sometimes limited by knowing only English, it was a pleasure to have quite a few options for this destination, even if they were almost all from one writer. It was without a doubt that I would delve into a novel by Ismail Kadare, a best-selling author in Albania since the 1960s, and someone who has had a big impact internationally for almost as long.

But with so many choices…you still have to make a choice. And I think I made the right one: Broken April. There’s not much I can add to the endless amounts of praise this book has received over the years, except to say that it deserves every word of it.

A melancholy story that takes place in an unidentified part of the 20th century, it unfolds like a fairy tale. Characters that are trapped by tradition, by family, by cycles that they are just part of and can’t control or escape. I don’t really want to say more, because you should experience this all for yourself. It’s well worth reading.

Shala Valley, Albania
Shala Valley, Albania
(Image by Albinfo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Country #22 – Albania

Country #22 is Albania! Looking forward to some good food, and some interesting reading.

Location of Albania
Location of Albania
(image via Wikimedia Commons)
Detail of Albania
Detail of Albania
(image via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of Albania
Flag of Albania
(image via Wikimedia Commons)