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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Bulgarian Stew features a veritable vegetable garden

Thursday, July 01, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Kitchen Mailbox has two outstanding recipes today. The only time-consuming part about Bulgarian Stew is cubing the beef and preparing the vegetables (the vegetables stay whole, so it's just washing and peeling). Other than that, this stew is a breeze, plus it's a great way to use the fresh vegetables from the farmers' markets.

If you're not fired up about turning on the oven in the summer, save this recipe for fall. We thank Elaine Kray of Munhall for sending us this recipe.

Three weeks ago we ran recipes for Lemon Pudding Cake. Earlier last week one of our readers, Anna Smosna, of Crafton, wrote Kitchen Mailbox and suggested we try her version of pudding cake. We did - and we have to say, if we were giving away prizes for the best pudding cake, the top prize would go to Anna. Here's an excerpt from her letter:

"I saw the lemon cake recipes in today's paper (June 17) and thought you might be interested in my version. I use a white or yellow box cake mix, prepared with whole eggs. While I'm making the cake I cook a package of lemon pie filling in the microwave. I pour this over the unbaked cake and pop it into the oven. Use the bake times listed for the box cake and add a few minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick.

"I use cook-and-serve pudding for other cakes, too.

"My favorite is chocolate pudding poured over chocolate cake with a handful of chocolate chips and chopped nuts sprinkled on top before baking."

We couldn't resist trying the chocolate, although this recipe will work with any combination of pudding and cake mix. It was delicious -- we ended up with a rich chocolate cake perched on top of warm chocolate pudding. Note that the cake will fall in spots while baking -- but we didn't care.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 5-ounce box chocolate pud- ding and pie filling
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate bits

Prepare cake according to package directions. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan.

Cook the pudding either on top of the stove or in microwave, according to package directions. Pour over unbaked cake. Sprinkle on nuts and chocolate pieces.

Bake according to cake package directions.

Note: Ours took a bit longer than -- about 40-45 minutes.

Bulgarian Stew

3 to 4 pounds chuck roast
1 large onion
2 or 3 carrots
1 green pepper
2 pounds string beans (green beans)
6 to 8 potatoes
1 pound mushrooms
2 large cans tomato sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley or 1/2 cup dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Trim fat from meat; cut into 2-inch cubes, set aside.

Prepare vegetables: Leave vegetables whole. Peel onion, carrots, potatoes and garlic. Wash green pepper and mushrooms. Before you wash string beans, remove ends.

Pour tomato sauce in a Dutch oven or roaster (we used a roaster). Add meat and all vegetables. Add the black pepper and parsley.

Place in a preheated 325-degree oven for 4 to 6 hours.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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