dishes make the staple food for Christmas, in Romania. The preparation of the
dishes is quite demanding, so it may take a while before the traditional
Christmas meal features pork jelly, liverwurst, pork rind, bacon, pork scraps, hog's
pudding, black pudding, sausages, pork-stuffed sauerkraut rolls.
The main pork-based Christmas dish is the hog's pudding, TOBA in Romanian. It is a mix
of pieces of pork with fat, cut out from the goiter region, added to which are
pork rind and pieces of liver, heart, kidneys and tongue, as well as ears. All
that is minced and then used as a filling for the pig's stomach. Traditionally,
the stomach of the pig is used for the hog's pudding. Right after the slaughter
of the pig, salt is rubbed in and the inner membrane is cleaned. The stomach is
then soaked in a mix of water and vinegar, with an onion cut in four also
placed there, in order to get rid of the bad smell. Pieces of meat, ears, pork
rind, tongue, heart, liver and kidneys are washed and cleaned. Then they are
put to the boil with two bay leaves, several pepper and pimento corns, an onion
and a spoonful of salt. As soon as boiling time is over, the meat and the other
ingredients need to be minced. All those minced pieces are used as a filling for
the hog's pudding, TOBA in Romanian.
As soon as the
pig stomach is filled, the slit needs to be sown. The hog's pudding is then
pierced several times before it is put to the boil once again, on medium heat. The
hog's pudding is boiled for about thirty minutes, in the same juice where
crushed garlic has been added. Then the hog's pudding needs to be cooled. For that, it is placed between
two wooden boards: the extra juice is thus squeezed as the boards press the
hog's pudding. The hog's pudding can also be smoked. It is kept cool and sliced
before it is served on the appetizers platter, alongside pork rind, pork
scraps, slices of liverwurst, black pudding or smoked or half-smoked sausages,
with or without paprika.
In Romania, the
main course for the Christmas dinner is made of cooked pork and fresh sausages,
grilled or fried in oil, with a side-dish of sautéed sauerkraut. The
pork-stuffed sauerkraut rolls, the traditional sarmale, are an iconic Christmas
dish for the Romanians.
Romanians, the pound cake is the traditional Christmas dessert. It is prepared
using leavened dough, eggs, butter sugar, while the filling is made of nuts,
cocoa, raisins or lokum. Enjoy!