Today’s Cooking Show takes you to the west of Romania, to its largest province, Transylvania, which showcases heavier cooking, displaying central European influences. It uses quite a lot of pork, including lard, and sauces based on onion sautéed with wheat flour. Soups are very often made with tarragon, an herb most likely brought there by German Saxon colonists in the Middle Ages. Smoked fatback is a staple throughout the year, and is used in cooked dishes as well. From Hungarian cooking, Transylvanian cooking has taken the use of sugar and hot chili powder in sauces. Typical dishes are polenta boiled in buttermilk, sauerkraut soup with sour cream, and stews with smoked fatback bits, etcetera.
Today’s recipe is a famous recipe from Transylvania, the renown Cluj baked sour cabbage. Take two average size heads of sauerkraut, 1-1/2 kilogram of pork with some fat on it, a handful of rice, two or three onions, salt and pepper. Chop finely the onion, then put the pork through the mincing machine. Melt some lard and sauté in it the onion with the pork. Finely slice the cabbage, then sauté it separately in lard as well. Boil the rice in salted water, then mix it in with the minced meat with onion. Take a large stovetop pot, at least 3 or 4 liters capacity, then start layering the contents. Put in alternative layers of meat and cabbage, with a bit of sauerkraut in between the layers. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then put the pot in the oven at medium heat for about a quarter of an hour. This can be served with a glass of semidry wine at room temperature. Enjoy!