Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ciulama de pui

"Chicken and mushrooms in a bechemal sauce"

Ciulama is said to originate from a Turkish dish, and indeed the Turks do have a dish of the same name, although it bears little resemblence to the Romanian dish. Ciulama itself refers to the thick white sauce in which many ingredients can be added: chicken, pigeon, veal, offal, or just mushrooms. This recipe is for chicken 'ciulama' with added mushrooms, but it's quite commonly cooked without the mushroom so leave them out if you're not a fan.

It is traditionally served with 'mamaliga' (Romanian polenta) and hot peppers (pickled or fresh) and liberally sprinkled with parsley.

Time: About three quarters of an hour
Servings: For 2 people
500g of chicken (whatever part you prefer, but commonly breast)
200g of sliced fresh mushrooms (or more if you like them a lot)
50g of butter
1 tablespoon of plain flour
2 tablespoons of sour cream ('smantana')
2 egg yolks
1 small carrot
1 small onion
1 bunch of parsley

1. Cut the chicken into smallish pieces and put them to boil in just enough lightly-salted cold water to cover them.
2. After it starts to boil, skim off the scum that appears on the surface of the water and then add the carrot and the onion (to flavour the stock) and leave to boil gently. When the chicken is boiled it will break apart easily or come off the bone if you are using thighs.
3. In the meantime, chop up the parsley.
4. In a separate pan gently melt the butter and stir in the flour, making sure not to burn it, until you get a paste. Splash in a little of the liquid the chicken is cooking in and mix well until you get a consistancy something like double cream - without lumps, naturally (if it's lumpy, pass it through a sieve).
5. Mix the two egg yolks into the two tablespoons of sour cream and add this to the sauce, which should be on a low heat so as not to split it.
6. Saute the mushrooms for a minute or two in butter.
7. Add the chicken pieces (boned if using thighs) and the mushrooms and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, without allowing it to boil, stirring constantly.
8. Season with salt and freshly-ground pepper, a generous sprinkle of chopped parsley, and serve piping hot.

Pofta buna!

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