You know it’s stormy outside when you arrive for an early morning appointment with a beehive. I’ve short hair, so I’m not sure why that happened. Anyway, back to yet more rubbish weather. So, comfort food it is. These Meatballs Romanian Style were inspired by Chef Doru – or, at least by his wife as I think that post was about her recipe. I made these 2 weeks ago and roasted them in the oven, like I did for the East Med style meatballs post a while back. As I was only able to buy lean ground pork mince, and probably as I roasted them for too long, they turned out really nice and flavoursome yet too dense for my liking. This time around I’m using egg white to bind and pan-frying them instead. And I’m not using too much fresh dill as I find its flavour overpowering. Why pork mince rather than beef? As I’ve only recently started to eat meatballs I wanted to try using pork instead. Besides, according to my research online pork meatballs would be used in Romania within a sour soup – the latter I tried to replicate 2 weeks ago but didn’t really like it.
What I adored, when visiting Romania for the first time, was sour chicken soup. In Oradea, in the north west, I ordered it twice before I left. What I can gather from info online is their use of lemon juice to sour the soup slightly, even though lemon wasn’t the predominant flavour. In retrospect I really should have made notes as well as taken photos of certain meals that I really enjoyed. At that particular restaurant on the High Street, their speciality was a vegetable based soup served in a large round oven baked brown bread. Nice to try it, but I wanted those sour notes of the previous evening. Anyway, loved my trip there. Such a beautiful country with so much to do and see. There are 3 photos below of 3 of the 100 cities that I visited (more on Flickr).
This time, with the meatballs, I went with including paprika, ground almonds and a red jalapeño chilli. The combination really works for me, especially with home-made mayo that includes Dijon mustard to go with the pork. Although, I’ll use even less fresh dill (especially the stem, fronds only!) the next time as it leaves a rather pungent aftertaste. This really needs the inclusion of a grated onion to help keep them moist in their middle. Especially as I’m not using bread dipped in milk as both items I very seldom buy. And I’m not going to buy a small loaf for 1 slice and chuck the rest! As for the home-made mayonnaise I’m going to post it separately as I was so impressed with how it turned out and how easy it was to make. No more buying shop-bought. It’s secret is poaching the egg yolks. More on that next time, then. As a side I’m thinking par-boiled shredded Spring greens reheated in butter and olive oil several minutes before serving. Shall update!
Update: The Spring greens really do go nicely as a side with these flavours as it’s a little bit more earthy than Savoy cabbage. All I do with them is to remove most of its main rib, those can be kept for stock. Torn in half they’re rinsed and added to a large saucepan with about 2.5cm or an inch of lightly salted cold water, brought to a boil, simmered for about 5 minutes, drained and allowed to cool. Then, I shred them roughly by hand, tearing out any damaged or scaly bits and discarding those, back into the same saucepan with a little olive oil and put back on low heat with a lid for about 10 minutes, stirring through occasionally. The other condiment that’s great with this is wholegrain mustard on the plate to dip chunks of the meatballs into. Also, the inclusion of grated onion really helps to keep the meatballs nice and moist.
Meatballs Romanian Style
- about 150g (5.29 oz) x onion, top sliced off, peeled and grated
- 200g (7.05 oz) x lean pork mince (ground pork)
- 2 x medium fresh parsley sprigs, including stalks, rinsed and snipped
- 4 – 6 x fronds of fresh dill, rinsed and snipped (I find the flavour of their stems too overpowering)
- 1 x medium onion, peeled and grated
- 3 x medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed/minced
- 1 x small lemon or 1/2 x larger
- 1/2 x tablespoon ground almonds
- 1 x red jalapeño chilli, washed, de-seeded and cut into small dice
- 1/4 x teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 x teaspoon paprika
- 5 or 6 x grinds of freshly ground sea salt
- rapeseed oil
- plain flour, for coating
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Add all numbered ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a dessertspoonful. Allow to stand for at least 30 minutes. After that time, with wet hands, grab spoonfuls of the mixture and place in your palm. Squeeze to get rid of any trapped air and shake off excess lemon. Once all of them are shaped roll them in the flour to coat them evenly.
- In the meantime put a heavy-based pan/skillet on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). When pan is hot and the meatballs have been formed add a glug of oil and carefully place the meatballs inside. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Give them about 5 minutes each side, or until nicely golden in colour (I’ve read online that the temperature in their middle should be 76.6°C or 170°F). Mine did ooze a kind of goo during cooking that I gently scraped off using a fork. The same thing happens when I buy beef mince here, too. Don’t think I really want to know what it is!
Below are 2 photos of Romania.
Oradea, Romania (România) The Palace of Public Finances (1890). Architect: Rimanoczy Kalman Jr.
Constanta, Romania (Constanţa, România). View from my hotel room, with the Black Sea in the distance.
All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
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