If you are in the Chuvash Republic, be sure to try the shartan! This dish has a long history, so there is no single recipe, and you can hardly cook it yourself. We will tell you what a shartan is.
What is Shartan?
The word “shartan”, according to historians, appeared during the ancient Onogur era (beginning of our era – III AD). During this period, the Ogur tribes (Pro-Bulgarians – the ancestors of the Chuvash) penetrated into Central Asia, Kazakhstan, and as a result of interaction with the eastern Iranian-speaking tribes, ancient Iranian words were fixed in their lexicon. The term “shartan” comes from the ancient Iranian shirdan – dishes from a sheep’s stomach stuffed with meat and rice. The Chuvashs around each village had pastures for small cattle, so the question of canning meat and offal was acute. Usually they were preserved by drying in a hot oven – this method got them from their nomadic ancestors – Bulgars and Suvars.
Traditions associated with shartans
Shartan, homemade chakar cheese, sara beer, simpil mead, sherpet honey drink were considered the most exquisite dishes among the Chuvash people. They were served to the most dear guests, prepared for a wedding, seeing off sons to the army, to war. When seeing off to the service, as a rule, two shartans were prepared. One was given on the road, and the second was kept. As long as the shartan, which remained at home, did not deteriorate, the parents were sure that everything was fine with their son. Upon the return of the soldier, the family gathered at the table to eat the second shartan and share the common joy of being together again.
Chuvash culinary book with a shartan on the cover
The Chuvash people composed songs, fairy tales, proverbs and riddles about their favorite national dish. A popular proverb says: “Kakaye pulsan, shartttan peseresi nim te mar“(If there is meat, it is not difficult to bake a shartan.) The food was also reflected in riddles:”Usman archara puslaman sharttan“(There is a lot of shartans in the opening chest.) The correct answer is the brain.
Livestock breeding is still the leading branch of agriculture in the Chuvash Republic: meat and dairy production, pig breeding, sheep breeding, poultry breeding, horse breeding are developed here. For the preparation of shartans, only livestock raised on the territory of the republic is used. Cattle are purchased from private farms in the Yadrinsky, Krasnochetaysky, Cheboksary and Alikovsky districts raised on natural fodder, and pork is supplied from local agricultural organizations.
Submission of the Chuvash shartan at the exhibition
How shartans are prepared
Each housewife has her own subtleties of making shartans. The professional skills of Chuvash craftsmen engaged in the manufacture of such a product with special properties, their experience, traditions and production technologies are passed down from generation to generation. Other peoples, including such as Turkic, Finno-Ugric, do not have similar dishes.
Beef and pork, salt, garlic, red and black pepper are used for the production of shartans. Pork bladders tied with twine are used as a natural casing for minced meat, after which they are placed on pans, greased with fat, and baked at a temperature of 100-140 ° C for 6 hours. Then the chartan is dried for 24 hours in the same oven at a temperature of 90 ° C.
Shartan has a round, oval or pear-shaped shape, its surface is slightly wrinkled. Each weighs from 0.5 to 1.0 kg. The cut shows pieces of baked meat ranging in size from 8 to 25 mm, the color from brown to dark brown. The taste is meaty, noble, with a pronounced aroma of spices and garlic. Shartan is rich in vitamins and minerals: B1, B2, choline, B5, B6, B12, PP, phosphorus, chlorine, iron, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, chromium, zinc.
Shartan on a cut