A Kulebyaka For A King

This delectable pie is one of the most celebrated traditional Russian recipes. Read on for an exclusive look at Chef Sergey Andreev’s recipe, served at our historic hideaway, Grand Hotel Europe, A Belmond Hotel, St Petersburg.

Created in the late 1800s, kulebyaka rose in popularity thanks to the importance of fish in pre-revolutionary cuisine—especially on fast days where meat was forbidden. So beloved is the dish that many writers, such as Nikolai Gogol and Ivan Turgenev, referenced it in their works.

The main way to distinguish kulebyaka from other pies or wellingtons is by its filling. Though recipes vary from household to household, it usually contains a mixture of salmon and a white fish, rice, hard boiled eggs, mushrooms and dill. Some opt to use a yeasted dough, while puff pastry is also popular.

Often served with melted butter or sour cream, Chef Sergey Andreev pairs it with a special champagne sauce for an extra touch of luxury.

  • Main Course by Chef Sergey Andreev

Kulebyaka with champagne sauce

Serves 4


For the kulebyaka:

  • 400g (14oz) puff pastry
  • 320g (11 oz) salmon fillet
  • 320g (11 oz) pike perch fillet (or substitute with hake or cod)
  • 240g (1 ⅓ cups) rice
  • 460g (1 lb) sliced porcini mushrooms
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 80g (½ cup) cherry tomatoes
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 200ml (¾ cup) champagne sauce (recipe below)

For the champagne sauce:

  • 200ml (¾ cup) sparkling wine or prosecco
  • 1 onion
  • 200g (2 ½ cups) chopped leeks
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 20g (0.7 oz) fresh thyme
  • 100g (2 cups) shallots
  • 800ml (3 ⅓ cups) fish broth
  • 1200ml (5 cups) cream
  • 20g (0.7 oz) salt
  • 2 ½ tbsp unrefined olive oil


For the kulebyaka:

  • Cook the rice according to packet instructions.
  • Sauté the mushrooms in vegetable oil.
  • Roll out the pastry. Add the fish, the cooked rice and the sautéed mushrooms in layers on top of the pastry.
  • Roll up the pasty to encase the fillings, then add an eggwash to the pastry.
  • Bake the kulebyaka in the oven at 240C for 30-40 minutes, or until the pie is golden brown.
  • Grease the cherry tomatoes with a mixture of vegetable oil and finely grated lemon zest. Bake in the oven at 160c for 5 minutes.

For the champagne sauce:

  • Fry the garlic in a pan for a few minutes with the olive oil, then remove.
  • Fry the onions, leeks, thyme and shallots in the garlic-scented pan.
  • Add the champagne and reduce until around 100ml remains.
  • Add the fish broth and simmer until reduced by half.
  • Finally, add the cream and simmer until reduced by one third.
  • Add the salt.


  • Slice the kulebyaka into diagonal slices. Plate each slice with a baked cherry tomato and dress with the champagne sauce.

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