,,One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.
And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends. ,,
-Laurie Colwin

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Modern Romanian cuisine (2)

Soups (ciorba or zeama - argot). In fact, in Romania, soup (supă) means something else; it's a homemade clear vegetable and meat broth where we add very thin homemade pasta (more like noodles) or semolina dumplings. But we can not translate ''ciorba'' in English, other then soup.''Zeama'' or ''ciorba'' is the way we call the soup In Romania and we use to eat a lot of them. We have a wide range of soups( zeama or ciorba) that are made with or without meat, or made with fish and they are offered on all menus in Romanian restaurants.Fresh ingredients are the basics to really tasty Romanian soups. As the climate and landscape changes thoughout Romania, regional favourites depend on what is available around the seasons.These can be made from meat and vegetable, beef tripe, pork foot or fish soups and all this can be soured with traditionally borş (fermented wheat bran), lemon juice, sauerkraut juice or vinegar.
Many of this traditional soups recipes use a lot of pork fat and the cooking time for this recipes are long...way to long. By cooking the vegetables to long we destroy not only the bad bacteria but we destroy the good things too. So here in my new modern Romanian recipes I will try to aproach them a bit different and try to save some vitamins beside a new presentation.
Recipes don't always have to be exact, try improvising to make traditional dishes not too traditional...try to make them in the way you like and try to use the fresh ingredients that you already have.
With the wide range of fabulous organic ingredients that exist in Romania today, you can be inspired to make fantastic soups. Organic ingredients enhance taste, and make recipes healthier for you and your family. Number one secret for a good soup is to make a good stock.Stock is most important in making soups because it has flavor, and it carries flavor in soups. Stock is the thin liquid produced by simmering raw ingredients. Then solids are removed, leaving a thin, highly-flavoured liquid. The stock can be made from any meat like... beef, veal, chicken, fish or vegetables. Soup stocks are best made with bone-in meat to slowly release the flavor carrier (collagen) from the bones. By slowly heating it, the collagen dissolves and brings out the flavor from the bones, and picks up the flavors of the aromatic vegetables. In this way stocks have flavours.
''Collagen - a flavor carrier is a substance, generally in liquid form, that can absorb organic molecules. That's because everything with flavor, with the exception of salt, is made up of organic molecules. Water alone cannot not do the trick. Water cannot dissolve organic molecules, which is why oil and water do not mix. Collagen is a substance that comes from bones, tendons, and other tissues of animals. And because it comes from these animal sources, it also brings along with it the flavors that reside within the tissues.''Here I show you how I made duck and goose broth that I used to the duck meat balls soup(ciorba de perisoare).A stock pot should be tall and narrow. The reason for this is that a narrow pot will have less evaporation than a wider pot, and this is a good thing for stocks. Stocks are not made with lids on, as this tends to increase the cooking temperature, which decreases the amount of collagen that is extracted from the bones.

Make sure you don't boil the stock rapidly. Keep it at a very very low simmer, with just a few bubbles coming up. When you remove the solid ingredients at the end of cooking, do it gently, removing large chunks with a slotted spoon or skimmer and then pouring it through a fine strainer. Then, don't mash the ingredients in the strainer to remove more liquid, as you will add little parts of the solid items too.
Once chilled - refrigerate your finished stock, the fats will separate and harden and form a layer on the top of the liquid that you can then easily remove. After you've removed all the chunks of fat from the top, freeze the stock gel (either from naturally occurring gelatin or by adding more gelatin), and then let the gel melt-defrost very slowly in a fine strainer that the clear liquid separates from the gelatin which holds the impurities.
The freezing technique leave you with a nice clear bulion '''consommé'' and takes almost no effort. But the process of chilling the stock, freezing it, and letting it thaw at refrigerator temperatures takes a minimum of 48 hours.
The soup that I liked the most in my childhood (only thinking of it I have mouth-watering) and I want to talk about today, is meat balls soup. There are many types of soups which I hope we're going to talk about in next posts.Duck meat balls soup (Ciorba de Perisoare din Carne de Rata)
Twisted with gold leaf stock is a delicious soup that's both healthy and low in fat!

I made the meat balls with minced meat from the duck legs mixed with thyme, uncooked rice, egg, garlic, one chopped onions cooked in duck fat and some choped parsley.
I serve the duck consommé very hot on the side with a gold leaf mixed in and the meat balls on top of some uncooked julienne vegetables made from carrots, zuckini and red pepper.
It's a great way to get some vitamins and it's beautiful to serve when entertaining during the Holidays with the beautiful red and green uncooked juliennes vegetables in the soup.
To be continued.... Pin It Now!

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