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MEAT DISHES

SARMALE "STUFFED CABBAGE" -  As Romanian as it gets, used for every celebration: Easter, Christmas, Baptism Ceremony, New Years eve',  .....you name it.
MITITEI "GRILLED MEAT FINGERS"
TOCANA DE MIEL - SHEPHERD LAMB STEW
SARMALUTE IN FOI DE VITA - STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
MUSACA DE VINETE - EGGPLANT MOUSSAKA



SARMALE "STUFFED CABBAGE"

Main ingredients

2 large cabbages , 1 small cabbage fine sliced in length
5 slices bacon, cut in small pieces
1/4 pound salt pork (smoked preferably) cut into 2 inch slices
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 Tbls paprika
1 clove crushed garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 cup water
2 pounds raw sauerkraut, drained of juice (use the juice for filling)
2 Tbls caraway seeds

Filling

1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground chuck
2 eggs
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup ice water
1 clove crushed garlic
3 Tbls sautéed onions
1/2 cup liquid from sauerkraut
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Remove and discard wilted outer leaves from cabbage. Carefully core the cabbage. Place it in a deep bowl and pour boiling water over cabbage. Let it soak while preparing the filling. Use a very large, heavy pot with a tight cover. Put bacon and salt pork into the pot. Add onions and sauté until onions just start to brown. Remove 3 Tbls of the mixture and add to the meat filling. Add paprika to the remaining onions and stir well. Add garlic, salt, pepper and water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain sauerkraut, reserving the juice. Rinse the kraut and add the onions, along the caraway seeds. Cover the pot and let the mixture simmer.

FILLING

Place the ground pork and ground chuck into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the sour cream, butter and flour. Mix well with your hands until very well blended and smooth. Remove cabbage from hot water and gently spread it apart. One by one, carefully remove the leaves. Be careful not to tear them.  Cut off the thick, heavy part of each leaf (level out). You should have about 12-15 leaves. Place aprox 2 tablespoons of the meat filling on each leaf. Tuck in the end and roll up carefully. Push stuffed cabbage into the sauerkraut, put the rest of rolls on top.  Cover with 1 inch of fine sliced cabbage leaves and add a little more water to cover if necessary. Taste. If you wish a sharper taste, add some sauerkraut juice. Cook for 2 hours. Add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve hot with sour cream over the stuffed cabbage or on the side.
 

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MITITEI "GRILLED MEAT FINGERS"

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/4 pounds ground suet
salt and pepper to taste
2 minced cloves garlic
1/8 Tsp baking soda
1/3 beef broth
2 Tsp paprika

In a blender or food processor, combine the meat with suet and grind until mixture is very fine in texture. Add seasoning and baking soda and mix thoroughly. With lightly greased hands, knead the meat mixture, adding bouillon slowly until mixture adheres together. Take a small pieces of the mixture and shape into 3 inch long, 1/2 inch wide fingers ( let them seat for 2 hours refrigerated). Place them under broiler, aprox 5 inches from heat source, or use a charcoal grill. Brown for 7 minutes on each side. Good to serve with mustard and a beer on the side while watching the football game or chatting with a neighbor.

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TOCANA DE MIEL - SHEPHERD LAMB STEW

1 kg Lamb, off the bone
500 g  Onions
1 l  Water
Salt and black pepper
2   Bay leaves (or 3)
1 kg Potatoes
150 ml Sour cream
1 Tbls  Vinegar

    Cube the meat and trim off the fat.  (Save the fat.)  Peel and slice the onions.  Render the fat trimmings in a casserole or saucepan. Take out the"scratchings" left after rendering and add the meat and onions.  Fry until well browned.  Add the water, salt and pepper, and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
    Peel and slice the potatoes and add them to the stew.  Simmer for another 30 minutes.  After about 20 minutes of this time, remove the lid to allow the liquid to reduce.  When the potatoes are soft, stir in the sour cream and vinegar:  remove from heat.  Serve with fresh home made bread.

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Sarmalute in foi de vita - Stuffed grape leaves

1 lb. beef and pork, ground together
          2 onions
          1 egg
          1 t salt
          1/2 t pepper
          1/4 c rice
          washed grape leaves
 
    Fry onions in hot fat. Add meat and fry until blood disappears. Cool mixture slightly    and then add egg, rice, seasoning and a spring of dill chopped fine. Mix together thoroughly. Place 1T of mixture in a grape leaf and wrap up in SARMALE (see stuffed cabbage recipe) fashion. Place SARMALE in deep pan, put 2T hot oil, put 2T flour and fry together. Remove from fire, add 1t paprika, 1/2 c hot water. Blend and pour over Sarmas. Many prefer to serve it with sour cream.

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MUSACA DE VINETE - EGGPLANT MOUSSAKA
 

    Peel and slice an eggplant in 1/2 in. pieces. Salt and let stand 20 min. Drain. Dip
pieces in flour and fry in hot oil. Meanwhile, cook 1/2 c rice in 1 1/2 t salt. In same skillet in which eggplant was fried, add 2 chopped onions. Fry until soft. Add 1 lb. ground beef and pork mixed. season. Put one layer of eggplant in a baking dish. Then spoon a layer of rice, then a layer of meat mixture. Repeat in this way until dish is almost filled. Then make a custard by beating 3 eggs with 1/2 c milk, salt and pepper. Pour this over mixture and bake about 45 min. in a 325 oven or until custard is set.

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