Saturday, January 28, 2023

Eat like you’re in Romania

Bailey Woodean
Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!
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Romania may not be on the top of your travel list but it is a beautiful country. In addition to being the home to the fabled, Dracula, it is a country steeped in medieval towns. These towns consist of some incredible architecture and mountain views. They also have some impressive cuisine!

Romanian Vegan Stewed Cabbage

Romanian Vegan Stewed Cabbage

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch peppercorn
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)
  1. Heat up a little olive oil in a deep, non-stick pan. Add the onion and fry it until translucent. Add the bell pepper and garlic and fry for another minute or so. Now add the chopped tomato, mix with a wooden spoon and leave it to fry for another 2-3 minutes. Now add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, paprika and liquid smoke if using. Mix well and fry for 2-3 minutes. If you feel there is too little oil, add half a cup of water to the mixture.
  2. Chop the cabbage (not very fine) and add it to the deep pan. If there is too much cabbage for the pan, add a few handfuls of cabbage at the time and let it reduce in size for a few minutes, then add the rest of the cabbage to the pan. Repeat until the whole sliced cabbage fits in the pan.
  3. This is the most important step to a successful stewed cabbage: once all the cabbage is in the pan, mix all ingredients, cover, and simmer at low fire for 30-45 minutes. Make sure to mix it with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes or so. Put the cover back as soon as you finish mixing as this is what makes the cabbage stew nicely.
  4. Do not add more water!
  5. Serve hot with bread and red onion if you like it the traditional way, or serve it as a side dish. The cabbage lasts for up to 5 days in the fridge. Keep it covered in an airtight container as the cabbage tends to smell up your fridge.
Romanian peasant omelet

Romanian peasant omelet
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
  • 3 medium eggs
  • ½ onion
  • ½ bell pepper
  • 2 mushrooms
  • ½ smoked, thin sausage
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) cașcaval or mozzarella cheese
  • A bit of milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Dice the onion, the mushrooms, and the bell pepper, and cut the sausage into small pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan, then add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms.
  3. Cook the vegetables for 1-2 minutes, then add the sausage pieces and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Beat the eggs with the milk and add the mixture to the pan on medium heat.
  5. Cover the pan with a lid, and wait until the upper part looks fluffy and slightly cooked.
  6. Using a spatula, carefully turn it upside down and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  7. Transfer the omelette to a plate and top it with shredded cheese.
  8. Serve with bread and veggies of your choice (I love to serve it with tomatoes).

Romanian Mămăliga Baked (Polenta)

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups ground coarse cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • ½ cup shredded feta cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  1. Bring the water and salt to a rapid boil in a large pot.
  2. Turn heat down to simmer and slowly pour in the cornmeal.
  3. Stir constantly for about 20 minutes until you notice the Mamaliga breaks away easily from the side of the pot.
  4. The cooked Mamaliga should be thick enough to stay on a plate by itself.
  5. It could be served just like this, cut into slices with a string. It would be served with sour cream, and feta cheese sometime even a fried egg on top.

For the Baked Mamaliga:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put half of the porridge into a 7 x 9 greased glass pan.
  3. Pour ½ of the melted butter on top.
  4. Whisk together the 4 eggs and the shredded feta cheese.
  5. Pour over the bottom half, making a layer of egg and cheese in the Mamaliga.
  6. Spread the rest of the Mamaliga on top.
  1. Pour the remaining melted butter over that.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top becomes lightly browned.
  3. Cut in pieces and serve with sour cream on top.

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