With Rev. Dr. J. Rus­sell Mit­man

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - Bette Ban­jack The Ta­ble Let me hear from you: ban­jack303@ver­i­zon.net. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cook­ing with Bette Ban­jack,” as well phoenixvil­lenews.com (search bar: Ban­jack) for this col­umn. Find Bette on Face­book by search­ing “Bette Ban­jack’s Dow

His full ti­tle is the Rev. Dr. J. Rus­sell Mit­man — but to his par­ish­ioners he is just “Pas­tor.” He came to Parkside United Church of Christ in Phoenixville, PA in 2011 to fill in un­til a new min­is­ter was found for the church. He re­mains there to­day — he flaunts re­tire­ment.

He and his wife, Ruth of 53 years re­side in Col­legeville. There are two chil­dren, Curt and his wife Mary and Lucy Wag­ner and her hus­band Ed and two Wag­ner grand­chil­dren. He and Ruth met at her third birth­day party in their home­town of Penns­burg, Pa.

Pas­tor Mit­man re­ceived his A.B. from Franklin & Marshall. At­tended sem­i­nary at Drew Univer­sity and re­ceived his M.T.H.M. from Prince­ton. He is a writer with six books un­der his belt, along with nu­mer­ous ar­ti­cles.

Be­ing of Ger­man de­scen­dant the Mit­mans have made many vis­its in the last 23 years to Ger­many. On a re­cent trip, they took their grand­chil­dren (Mon­tana & Bo Wag­ner) with them.

Do you re­mem­ber Jeff Smith from PBS Satur­day cook­ing shows (The Fru­gal Gourmet) he was a class­mate of Pas­tor Mit­man. Aswell as an usher in the Mit­mans’ wed­ding party. Both gen­tle­men at­tended Drew Univer­sity dur­ing their sem­i­nary stud­ies and re­main friends un­til Smith’s death.

The Parkside Church founded its roots in 1900 as the Hun­gar­ian/Slo­vak Re­formed Church on But­ton­wood Street & Third Av­enue. A new church was built in 1931 where it re­mains to­day on Main Street at Third Av­enue. In 1980 the church’s con­gre­ga­tion be­came the Hun­gar­ian United Church of Christ un­til the change in 2011 to Parkside United Church of Christ. The church’s motto is “Who­ever you are and wher­ever you are in life’s jour­ney, you are wel­comed here”.

There are other in­ter­ests along with his work and writ­ings. He tools around in his ma­roon Mazda MX-5 sports car. There is his love of food and cook­ing. He pro­claims to be a cook and not a baker. He learned many of his cook­ing tech­niques in the kitchen of Viet­nam friends. He loves the in­fu­sion of foods.

There is a monthly meet­ing dur­ing the win­ter months at Parkside of a group called Kitchen Club. This last Christ­mas he and I pre­pared a Seven Fishes Feast (a Jeff Smith recipe) for De­cem­ber’s pre­sen­ta­tion. The feast along with an an­tipasto salad seem to be a big hit.

Pas­tor Mit­man’s recipe for:

Ger­man Rouladen of Beef

Serves 8 to 10.

ROULADES:

3 lbs. fresh cut or frozen chip-steak – about 18 to 20 pieces.

¼ tsp. freshly ground pep­per 6 Tbsp. Bavar­ian sweet mus­tard

FILL­ING:

2 medium-size sweet Vi­dalia onions, peeled & finely chopped ¼ lb. ba­con, finely chopped 1 cup freshly minced pars­ley 3 medium-size pick­les, minced (not too sour)

COOK­ING OF ROULADEN

2 Tbsp. un­salted but­ter or mar­garine 2 Tbsp. peanut oil 1 large car­rot. Peeled & coarsely chopped

1 large Vi­dalia onion, peeled & thinly sliced

1 large celery rib, peeled & thinly6 sliced ½ freshly minced pars­ley 3 ½ cups rich beef broth (prefer­ably home­made)

GRAVY:

Roulade liq­uid & solids ¼ cup tomato paste ¼ cup Half-and-Half ¼ cup evap­o­rated skim milk Salt & pep­per to taste On wax pa­pered counter sprin­kle both sides of beef with fresh ground pep­per. Spread each side of beef with the mus­tard, us­ing a one tea­spoon for each. Set aside. In a large heavy skil­let stir-fry onions & ba­con over mod­er­ate heat for 8 to 10 min­utes, un­til onions are glazed. Mix in pars­ley – al­low to cool to room tem­per­a­ture and stir in pick­les. Place a ta­ble­spoon mound of fill­ing on each end of each piece of meat. Spread fill­ing evenly al­low­ing 3/8” on both sides & 1” at far side. Roll the meat up tightly to­ward - se­cure with tooth­pick. Pinch each end to­gether so that the fill­ing won’t come out. Re­peat us­ing up all the meat pieces. Melt but­ter in large skil­let for 1 to 2 min­utes on mod­er­ately-high un­til it siz­zles. Brown roulades well on all sides (about 5 to 10min­utes) keep turn­ing to al­low from burn­ing. Re­duce heat – add car­rot, onion, celery & pars­ley con­tinue to cook with meat ad­di­tional 5 min­utes. Add broth & bring to a boil - sim­mer – just a trem­ble. Cover the skil­let & al­low to sim­mer for 1¼ to 1½ hours. Re­move meat with slot­ted spoon to shal­low pan – cover & keep warm. Strain the cook­ing liq­uid, sav­ing both liq­uid & solids. Hard boil liq­uid in skil­let un­cov­ered to re­duce about one-third. Puree solids in elec­tric blender at a high speed. Blend to­gether liq­uids, solids with tomato paste, half-in­half * skim­milk, sea­son with salt & pep­per. Re­turn meat to skil­let and warm slowly in the gravy (5 to 10 Min­utes), baste of­ten. Gravy will cur­dle if al­low to boil. Serve im­me­di­ately.

En­joy!

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