Today we invite you to Muntenia, a province in southern Romania, to introduce to you dishes from this region located between the Carpathians and the Danube.
The region was known as Wallachia in the Middle Ages and old documents contain references to the parties thrown by the country's rulers and high-ranking boyars as well as about the abundance of dishes and exquisite food they used to lavish on their visitors.
Some references mention up to 60 courses served and the guests were supposed to clear the plates, otherwise their gesture would have been regarded as an insult to the hosts. Mutton, pork and poultry dishes were the main courses served during the parties and banquets of the Middle Ages Wallachia.
Beef was avoided because it was believed to come from an animal that was used for heavy works. The region has built its own gastronomical culture influenced by the cuisine in the Orient, in Greece, France or Italy.
Various sorts of vegetables, as well as fish, milk, pastry and fruit are used for dishes specific to this region. Aspic dishes from chicken, goose or pork were a traditional staple in Wallachia, and foreign visitors were often taken by surprise when served this kind of dish, as well as by fruit or vegetable preserved in brine, which usually accompanied heavy meals.
In today's edition of this cooking feature we'd like to invite you to try to cook a traditional sour meat and vegetable soup from southern Romania. For this you need a piece of meat, which could be pork, beef or poultry and several vegetables: one celeriac, two parsnips, a couple of carrots, two potatoes, green peas, bell peppers, a chunk of cabbage, and a big onion.
You also need tomato juice and some herbs, like fresh parsley and lovage. First cube the meat and boil it. Add the chopped vegetables and sour it with fermented wheat bran brew 15 minutes before taking the soup off the cooking range. After the meat and vegetables are done, add the tomato juice, the finely chopped herbs, and salt to taste. Serve the soup hot, with sour cream and fresh hot pepper.