Portlandia meets the Motherland: Kachka’s braised chanterelles and potatoes

Portland Monthly once called chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales' food, "like a feisty Russian Babushka’s cooking—with Pussy Riot crashing the dinner table."

Come fully fed. Don’t try anything too weird.

Those were the caveats for coming over to dinner at chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales’ parents’ house. Having grown up with immigrant parents, Morales pushed away her family’s Soviet food traditions while she sought out diverse culinary experiences. But that all changed after a date with her then-boyfriend, now husband.

“He walked away from his first time having dinner at my parents’ house with wide eyes. He was amazed and said it was some of the best food he’d ever eaten and he wanted more of it,” Morales remembers. “So we started going to my parents’ house more and more. My mom started to get excited too. She started making things she hadn’t made in a while.”

As the pair continued to date, they talked about more and more about her family’s recipes and slowly her husband began to change the way Morales thought about the food she grew up with.

Now, her restaurant Kachka spotlights the immigrant recipes from her culture and shares the narrative of her Belarusian-Jewish roots, with modernized ingredients and updated technique.

Here is a recipe from her latest book “Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking.

Excerpted from the book KACHKA by Bonnie Frumkin Morales. Copyright © 2017 by Bonnie Frumkin Morales. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Leela Cyd.