Visit To Romania
No, unfortunately I am not (YET) taking a trip to my country as much as I wish but Joan of Foodalogue does (Lucky Her) in an attempt of a Culinary Trip Around The World with the goal of raising awareness and promote the effort to fight World Famine through BloggerAid or the World Food Programme and other trustful organizations. I’ll add here Heifer International, an organization with an effective program to provide all sorts of livestock to impoverished families around the world.
So, in light of that I thought of prepping a dish I grew up with and even if I cannot necessarily attribute it to the “Romanian Cuisine” (if there is such thing), at least I can blame it to the region I grew up in – Timisoara, Romania.
One Dish, Many Names
Just to give you an idea of the fusion of cultures in Romania (Transylvania, mainly) – each town, main city to tiny village, has at least 2-3 names, each attributed to the language of the culture it houses. For instance my town is called Timisoara in Romanian), Temesvar in Hungarian and Germans call it Temeswar.
And of course the same thing happens with food. One dish has many names, but means one thing – well, with slight variations, depending on who is cooking. For instance Hungarians main resource for fat is pork lard, Romanians prefer vegetable oil. Rantas (roux) is a widely use component in Hungarian cooking, while Romanians do well on thinner stews or soups like the well-known ciorba.
But in the end all Transylvanian cultures will sit down at the end of a day and would enjoy each other variations without any fuss.
Mititei or also known as Mici (translated meaning the plural for little, very small) is nothing else but the Romanian version of the glorious hamburger in America. I grew up with it, and it was part of a very typical day that my Dad after work, would take me along with him to go out with his friends to enjoy this quick dinner, that of course calls for beer (does it ring a bell?).
The small sausage-like shaped Mititei is similar to the kebobs grilled in the Middle East, and the main traditional ingredients are a mix of minced mutton and pork meat. There are of course tons of variations on quantity and ingredients but the one I recommend that I often make is the following:
– 1 Lb ground pork
– 1 Lb ground lamb
– 1 Tsp salt
– 7 cloves minced garlic
– 1 Tsp baking soda
– 1 Tsp pepper
– 1 Tsp dried thyme
– 1/4 Cup stock
Mix ingredients, fold in enough stock, to have the mix of the same consistency of a hamburger mix. Leave mixture in the fridge overnight.
When ready, start you charcoal grill (please, tradition calls for charcoal), and shape mix into sausage like shapes, 3 or 4 inches wide. Grill them on high temperature, and serve them immediately with dijon mustard and of course with plenty cold beer.
Of course the secret in this recipes lies in the garlic. Garlic abounds in Romania. I am just keep wondering why Dracula the Vampire made it his residence! Enjoy!