Ok, first things first. Let us deal with the pronunciation of the dish. ZA-KAUN-SKA. It sounds complicated, but it is not so complicated to make if you are a gifted baker or as in my case, a gifted observer! Yeah, I am playing the part of the student with this dish and it is from the Polish cuisine. Agnieszki in the name of this dish stands for the innovation and the modification introduced by the person cooking, Agnieszka. At this very moment she is cooking it and I am writing this. ( Wednesday, 17.11.2010, 20:00 )
Wash the leeks (2) and discard the hard green part. Cut into round slices the rest of the onion. Peel the celery (1) and cut in into nice 1 inch cubes. Add these together into boiling water and add along one table spoon of butter, some salt and 2 spoons of sugar. Within few minutes, the room is filled with the magnificent smell of onions and celery. Celery, by far, has the most interesting smell for a vegetable that I have ever come across! Once the celery is 70 % cooked, take it off the heat. Strain the water off and transfer the boiled vegetables to a hot pan with melted butter (1 spoon). Now add two cubes of vegetable stock and cook until the stock is spread over the vegetables. The cubes are actually well concentrated vegetable stock containing vegetables and spices like thyme, rosemary and turmeric and salt. One good idea to substitute this would be to use the readily available Knorr veg clear soup powder (oh yeah, EUREKA!).
Pour nearly 150ml of cooking cream (25-30 % fat, thick) over the prepared vegetables and mix evenly. Now, into a nice glass oven able bowl, spread a layer of French pastry (yet again readily available) so that the pastry lines the base and the sides of the bowl. Prick the bottom with a fork so that the pastry can breathe when in the oven! Transfer the vegetable-cream mixture into this and cover the top with strips of the pastry in random or netted orientations. Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius and then put this inside for 40 minutes (@ 180 degrees ). Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Play around with spices if you need to make it hotter!
Oh, the taste is divine. Leeks and celery and cream with mild spices. The taste will transport you to the nostalgic 1800's of Europe. The ingredients might be tough to procure in India, but I know that people reading this will add their names to the second part for their own modification introduced!