Saturday, 1 September 2012

Perisoare cu smantana si marar

“Meatballs with sour cream and dill”

Who doesn’t like meatballs? Well, vegetarians, I suppose. These ones are nice and juicy, especially if you can get some good lean cuts of meat and mince it up yourself. Personally I don’t like to use supermarket-bought meat, especially minced meat, which I know from people in the trade is basically just the old stuff they couldn’t sell while it still looked fresh. If you can’t be bothered to buy a meat grinder and mince it up yourself, most butchers will do it for you: that way you get the best of both worlds. I cooked them without the dried mushroom powder in the end as I didn’t have any to hand and couldn’t find it at my local market, but they were still delicious without it.

The recipe comes from Radu Anton Roman’s recipe book in the Moldavian recipe section. He recommends serving it simply with mamaliga (polenta) but as I had just made the polenta cake in the previous recipe, I had it with mashed potato instead.

Time: 90 mins
Servings: 5-6 people

500g of lean veal
500g of lean pork
300g of bread, crusts removed
100ml of milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
100g of butter
2 eggs
3 bunches of dill
Salt and pepper for seasoning
½ cup of flour
800ml of sour cream
2 tablespoons of dried mushroom powder*

1. Mince the meat and put it in a large mixing bowl.
2. Soak the bread in the milk, drain and squeeze out the excess.
3. Melt a knob of the butter in a pan and gently fry the onion until it is translucent and soft, but not burnt.
4. Beat the two eggs.
5. Finely chop the dill.
6. Mix together the minced meat, the bread, the fried onions (pour the melted butter in too), the two eggs, and one third of the dill and season with salt and pepper.
7. On a plate, mix together the flour and another third of the chopped dill.
8. With wet hands, form the meat mixture into walnut-sized balls and roll them in the flour/dill mixture to coat them all over.
9. Melt the rest of the butter in a large frying pan and, in batches if necessary, fry the meatballs until brown all over and hard.
10. Beat the sour cream with two tablespoons of the flour (use any flour that was left over from rolling the meatballs), the rest of the dill, and the dried mushroom powder*.
11. Drain any excess oil/butter off the meatballs and arrange them in a ceramic pot with a lid and pour the sour cream mixture over them.
12. Put the pot in a preheated oven on a low heat until the liquid has reduced by about half.

*I couldn’t find anything like this in the shops and have never seen it in other recipes. I suppose you could buy some dried mushrooms and blitz them up, or perhaps use a little mushroom stock cube. If anyone knows what this is exactly (praf de ciuperci uscate), please leave a comment!

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