Instant Pot Bukovinian Nachinka – Ukrainian Cornmeal Casserole with Bacon

Bukovinian Nachinka (known as Bukovynska nachynka) is similar to my traditional nachynka recipe for the Instant Pot. This is just as easy and has just a few extra step to add bacon. Bukovina? It’s one of those in-between-places in Eastern Europe.

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Instant Pot Studenetz – Head cheese – Jellied Pork Meat

If you’re a vegetarian – look away and head over here now. Studenetz is a Ukrainian version of head cheese – with garlic. Studenetz is a staple all year round but mostly pops up at Easter.

A traditional recipe takes way over four hours to cook on the stovetop plus assembling time – but less than half that time in the Instant Pot. It’s not “instant” but end-to-end I made this recipe in 4 hours total (then refrigerated everything overnight). This recipe uses the same ingredients as my baba’s recipe.

You either love studenetz or don’t touch it.

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Instant Pot Sour Cabbage Rolls – Holubtsi

Yet another variant of holubchi (holubtsi, golubchi, golubtsi, Голубцы).  There are as many ways to spell cabbage rolls as there are to make them.  These are vegetarian-vegan – it’s what I made for Christmas Eve.  If you’re looking for meat then check out my recipe for Instant Pot Buckwheat and Pork Cabbage Rolls

This uses sour cabbage which you can either spend a few weeks making in a barrel – or buy a sour cabbage head at a grocery store.

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Instant Pot Ukrainian Compote – Stewed fruit

With all of the hectic activity around the holidays, it’s nice to have something that’s super easy.  On Christmas Eve, a fruit compote (or stewed fruit) made with dried fruit is a traditional end to the meal.  The Instant Pot makes the dish amazingly easy and much less time consuming than soaking the fruit overnight.

I use prunes, dried apricots, dried apple rings and raisins.  But, you can use any combination of dried fruits.

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Vegetarian / Vegan Instant Pot Borscht

Як ви готуєте борщ? (yak veh ho-too-yet-eh borsch) I’ve been learning Ukrainian with Duolingo.  It’s been fun and sometimes frustrating.  If you’d like to try it out, you can use this link which would give me a free week of the “pro” version.  The other day, the lesson asked me Як ви готуєте борщ? How do you cook borscht?

Here it is.  This is a vegan borscht with a lot of flavour, and it’s pretty straightforward.  I save time by using pre-cooked beans and pre-cooked onions.  A quick steam for the beets makes them easier to peel.  And, dill and beet leaves (or swiss chard) adds a fresh flavour in the middle of winter.

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Instant Pot Mashed Beans – Kolocheni Fasoli for Sviata Vecheria

Beans are a fairly pedestrian thing. This recipe made for Sviata Vecheria, the Ukrainian twelve-dish meatless Christmas Eve meal. As such, it’s made with vegetable oil and is totally vegan. With a cup of Instant Onions, you’ll save even more time on your way to Christmas Eve.

Mashed beans may not look like much but they’re tasty and garlicky.  They’re kind of the Ukrainian version of refried beans.

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Instant Pot Nachynka – Cornmeal Casserole

For one of my favourite foods, I grew up thinking that “nachynka” (also nachinka or начинка) was the word for cornmeal.  It actually means stuffing.  Also known as Bukovynska nachynka if it has bacon in it.  But, this is a basic but delicious cornmeal side dish at heart.

Nachynka starts out as a basic polenta recipe to which you add eggs and onions and bake it in the oven.  I made this an embarrassing number of times trying to get this one right for the Instant Pot – and it’s worth it.  Instead of stirring the cornmeal on the stove for 45 minutes, the Instant Pot makes that a quick 9 minutes!

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Instant Pot Buckwheat and Pork Cabbage Rolls / Holubtsi

I don’t often make cabbage rolls (or holubtsi or golubchi or whatever) with meat.  Ground meat is hard to roll.  Even if you have a small amount of rice, it just doesn’t hold together like 100% rice cabbage rolls like my traditional-Instant Pot cabbage roll recipe or even the beet leaf holubtsi recipe.

Enter buckwheat or kasha! Buckwheat filling in cabbage rolls is also great – and healthy.  But, on its own it’s not spectacular though it’s a great alternative for dairy-free and gluten-free vegetarians.  Here, I’ve combined some ground pork along with buckwheat to make a unique filling for your Instant Pot.  You could also use ground beef or a vegan ground meat product.

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Instant Pot Beet Leaf Holubtsi

Beet leaf cabbage rolls may not make a lot of sense but they’re delicious and completely unlike cabbage holubtsi (holubchi, golubchi, golubtsi, whatever).  Replacing the cabbage with beet leaves is a summer time treat.

Beet leaf holubtsi arranged in a casserole. Red veins in the leaf contrast the bright green leaves.

Like many awesome Ukrainian recipes, this one finishes with being baked in cream.  So, it needs to be finished in a regular oven because that cream totally curdles in the Instant Pot.  A little extra time but totally worth it.

After some research, there are plenty of recipes around called beet leaf holubchi but with bread dough wrapped in beet leaves.  My family always makes beet leaves filled with rice and plenty of dill.  If you’re used to the bread dough version, try this one out!
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Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls / Holubtsi

The Ukrainian word for cabbage rolls have a lot of different spellings when it’s transliterated into English. Holubtsi, holubchi, holubchy, golubchi, golubtsi. Why the h and g? Regional differences, I suppose.

In my family, holubtsi are more often meatless than meaty. This applies especially to Sviata Vechera, the meatless 12-dish Christmas Eve dinner.  In this version, they are also gluten-free and could go vegan by swapping out the butter for vegetable oil.

While you could finish the rolls in the oven, this recipe in the Instant Pot helps you save some time by speeding up the fillings and the final cooking.

This recipe saves almost 2 hours of cooking time!

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