At this time of the year
Romanian Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter, the week beginning with the
Christian feasts of Easter and culminating with Easter Sunday. On this occasion
households are filled with the smell of painted eggs, freshly baked pound cake
and most of all lamb-based dishes.
In today's edition of the
Cooking Show we bring you recipes for lamb soup, a dish usually served at
Easter, and lamb stew with spring onion and garlic.
the lamb soup, you will need one lamb head, the thighbones, its neck and tail.
In addition, you will need 2 medium-sized carrots, one parsnip, one cup of
rice, one bunch of spring onion, pepper and salt to taste, one egg yolk, one
cup of sour cream and two bunches of fresh lovage.
Boil the lamb parts in a pot with 6
liters of water and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Add the finely
chopped vegetables and leave to boil over a low heat for approximately an hour.
Add the rice and leave to boil for an additional quarter an hour. A very
popular souring agent, widely used in Romanian cuisine, is fermented wheat
bran. In the end add the liquid obtained by fermenting wheat bran and leave to
boil for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and salt to taste. Mix well the
egg yolk with the sour cream as you would a dressing and serve hot with freshly
chopped lovage leaves.
The so-called "stufat", a
delicate spring lamb stew, is very popular in the period right after Easter in
Romania and all over the Balkans. You can make it with either leg of lamb or
lamb ribs, about a kilo's worth. It doesn't take much to make the recipe. All
you need on top of that is five tomatoes, about 15 sprigs of spring onion and
another 15 of green spring garlic. Cut the onion and garlic into segments about
an inch long.
In a pan heat some oil, and
cook the meat on all sides at low heat, turning it periodically. Set the meat
aside, then, in the same oil, sweat the pieces of onion and garlic. Also, cut
the tomatoes into little cubes. Now take a covered deep oven dish and mix
inside the lamb, onions and garlic, as well as the tomatoes. In some versions,
a bit of flour is added to the mixture to thicken the sauce. Top with a bit of
water, then set in the oven at medium heat for about half an hour. Take out the
vessel and throw in a glass of wine, as well as salt and pepper to taste, then
leave to cook in the oven for about another quarter of an hour. It is a recipe
as simple as it is delicious.
Alongside lamb dishes and
pound cake, the "Pasca", a sweet cheese Easter cake is a ubiquitous dessert at
the Easter table, once Eastern Lent is broken and eating cheese and eggs is
once again allowed by the faithful. For most Romanians it is the smell and
taste of Easter. Enjoy!