Romanians serve lamb or kid meat dishes as Easter traditional foods

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The lamb meat dishes cannot miss from the Romanians' table at Easter time, be it sour soup, haggis, stew or steak, the preparation, however, varying from area to area.

Photo credit: (c) Nicolae BADEA / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Cosmin Toma, a chef from Alba Iulia, over the years picked several traditional recipes from the cuisine of the peasants living in the Apuseni or the Sebes Mountains, recipes which he collected in a cook book, called "Culinary journey in Alba County." Among these recipes there are some cooked on the occasion of the Easter holiday.

* The lamb head sour soup recipe requires four litres of water, a lamb head, one and a half kg of lamb legs, 100 grams of carrots, parsley root and white onion, 50 grams of wheat, 400 millilitres of bortsch, 100 grams of sour cream, 20 grams of green lovage, 50 milliliters of oil, one egg and 30 grams of salt.

"The leg bones, together with the lamb head, are put to boil, with the foam cleared during boiling so the lamb sour soup be clear. When there is no brownish foam over the water, the carrots, the parsley rood and the onion are added, after having been previously fried in oil. All ingredients are left to boil for one hour, then the wheat and the bortsch are added, and everything is left to boil for 20 more minutes. Meanwhile, the lovage is finely cut and added to the sour soup. After boiling, the soup is left to cool for five minutes and the sour cream whipped with the egg, mixed with some soup, are added over the entire mixture," Cosmin Toma describes the preparation of this sour soup.

* In Sebes Mountains, an area where sheep breeding is among the main occupations of the locals, the housewives know how to prepare several dishes based on lamb or kid meat. Such a recipe, a dish never missing from the Easter menu, is "gusita" [haggis]. To prepare it, the ingredients are lamb organs (liver, spleen, heart, kidney) and peritoneum, as well as 500 grams of green onion, 300 grams of green parsley, 200 grams of smoked pork bacon, 50 grams of pork fat, 30 eggs, 50 grams of pepper and 50 grams of salt.

"The lamb organs are boiled, collecting the foam from time to time. After boiling, they are placed on a tray and left to cool, then they are minced, together with the green onion, the green parsley, the smoked pork bacon and ten boiled eggs. The mixture is mixed with other ten raw eggs, salt and pepper, and is kneaded until it becomes a paste. A 7-10 cm deep tray is anointed with pork fat and the peritoneum is placed on the bottom, after which the mixture is poured on it. The other eggs are boiled, left to cool, then cut in four pieces and placed over the mixture, at a 2-3 cm distance from each other. When ready, the mixture is covered with the sides of the peritoneum and baked in the hot oven for 90 minutes," chef Cosmin Toma explains the preparation manner for the haggis in Sebes Mountains.

* Another recipe picked by Toma from the villages of the Sebes Mountains is the lamb steak, needing four kilograms of lamb leg, 200 grams of white onion, 100 grams of garlic, 300 millilitres of white wine, 50 grams of pork fat and 20 grams each of paprika, salt and pepper.

"The meat cut in pieces and held over night in salt, pepper and paprika is placed in a deep tray, rubbed with pork fat. Then the round cut onion, the finely chopped garlic and the white wine are added. The steak is cooked in the hot oven for two or three hours, depending on how crunchy people want to make the steak," Cosmin Toma says.

Cosmin Toma is the author of six cook books, among which the biggest cook book, measuring one metre in height and 70 centimetres width, enclosing over 200 recipes and over 100 photographs. The tome "Toma's cooking workshop," including both traditional and high class recipes, also belonging to other chefs, will be also printed in a standard format, the author hopes.


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