Now I am well aware that I have a bio page here and I am also well aware that said bio page hasn’t been dealt with, so I feel the need for a quick back ground on myself. First, I am born and raised American but I am of primarily Italian descent with a smattering of German to fuel the fires! I was raised in a very ethnic area just outside of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, I have a wide variety of friends and acquaintances, that come in every color, flavor and background possible. However, my social circle and extended family does not include anyone of the Jewish faith, so I have not been exposed to much Jewish Cuisine. Sure, I know Challah and Matzoh but that about exhausts my knowledge.
Earlier this year during Lent, I was surfing and cruising and happened upon something regarding Passover. Now, I love me some internet and I love me some food and I really really like to learn new things; typically when trying to learn about those I am unfamiliar with, I go right for the food, the cook books, the generations old handed down recipes. So I perused recipes from simple to very involved, my interest was piqued. I must mention that Ray and I were in a bit of a food rut; we had been working very long hours, he was beginning to get ill, I was trying to figure out this world of blogs and blogging so our food intake consisted mainly of the tried and true old stand-by home recipes or the even more convenient take-out! In other words, we were in definite need of a food makeover!! And here is what I found….
Romanian Garlicky Sausages with sour pickle vinaigrette & roasted sweet peppers…Carnatzlach, from the book
Spicy sausages with tons of garlic, ok so Ray isn’t a big fan of the ole “G” but I am Italian and dammit, Garlic will not be banned from my cookin!!! We own a candy/fudge shoppe and yes, I have made garlic fudge (Actually, mighty tasty once you get past the initial shock)!! This recipe requires a little time for flavors to blend, so I started it and planned on making it for dinner the following day. Well, next day found Ray in hospital (all is well), so I went to work, ran home whipped these up and then ran off to visit him. Needless to say he didn’t get a chance to try them, so now that the dust has settled and all is as normal as normal gets for us, I thought I needed to let him have a shot at them, as other than the garlic I thought this would be a winner for his taste. As per usual, I was correct!!!
Some comments before the recipe…
- Simple and easy prep!
- Smells heavenly when initially mixed and even more so when cooking!
- The vinaigrette is refreshing beyond words.
- The mix of spicy, sour and sweet is not anything I expected in a Jewish recipe, most wonderful.
Without, further ado…
Romanian Garlicky Ground Meat Sausages
with Sour Pickle Vinaigrette and Roasted Red Peppers
Yield: 4 to 5 Servings
I love pickles, though they never live up to their smell: a siren song of heady garlic, spicy peppercorns, and other enticing aromatics. Crunchy and cold, they provide refreshing respite from the dryness and density of unsauced meats, especially in sandwiches and simple grills.
Eating carnatzlach, I grew tired of alternating one bite of barbequed meat with a juicy chew of pickle, so I turned the pickle into this sauce.
This garlicky Romanian grill is wonderful anytime, but it is particularly appealing for casual Indian summer meals during the holiday. If you’re cutting down on beef, well-seasoned turkey is a good substitute here.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- About 1 teaspoon salt (more if using ground turkey)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; or fresh,
hot but not searing, chile (preferably Fresno or serrano,
but Hungarian wax, jalapeno, or other varieties will do fine),
roasted (see Cook’s Note), peeled and finely chopped
(be sure to use rubber gloves when preparing)
- 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (you can substitute ground
turkey-the ground thigh meat will work best-with fineresults,
but you may want to increase the seasoning slightly)
- Oil for greasing the broiler rack or pan, if needed
2 large red bell peppers, roasted (see Cook’s Note), cut into strips, and seasoned well with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and a little vinegar or lemon juice to taste; chopped scallions (both white and green parts); Sour Pickle Vinaigrette (recipe follows); half-sour or garlic dill pickles, sliced lengthwise; garlic dill tomatoes
In a food processor combine the garlic, paprika, salt, oregano or marjoram, allspice, black pepper or chile, and 14 cup water and pulse until the garlic is chopped very fine. Add a third of the meat and process until thoroughly incorporated with the seasoning. Add another third of the meat and pulse a few times. Add the final third and continue pulsing, stopping to scrape down the bowl, if necessary, until the mixture is well combined, very soft, and almost pasty.
Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overn1g~t so that all the vibrant flavors will meld together.
When ready to cook the carnatzlach, set out a small bowl of cold water and a large platter. Moisten your hands with the water, take a small lump of the meat mixture, and roll it into a sausage 3- to 4-inches long and i-inch wide (about the size of your middle finger, but a little wider). Place the shaped carnatzl on the platter and continue making more, wetting your hands as necessary, until all the meat is rolled. You’ll have approximately 14 to 17 sausages.
Preheat the broiler, outdoor grill, or (my choice) a heavy ridged cast-iron skillet on top of the stove, to high temperature. (Spray rack or pan lightly with oil first, if not nonstick.) Grill or broil the sausages until beautifully browned, crusty, and cooked to desired doneness, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
To serve, arrange some roasted red pepper strips and chopped scallions on a plate. Nestle a few carnatzlach attractively over them, and spoon a generous amount of sour pickle vinaigrette over everything. Garnish with pickles and garlic dill tomatoes.
Cook’s Note: To roast peppers, spear them with a long-handled fork, and roast like marshmallows over an open flame (a gas burner or outdoor fire). Or place the peppers on a roasting rack set directly over the flame. Keep turning the peppers until the skins are lightly charred on all sides. You can also roast them under the broiler. Place the peppers on a foil-lined rack under a preheated broiler, as close as possible to the heat source. Turn the peppers as the skins blister and blacken.
Put charred peppers in a paper bag and twist the bag closed, or put them in a covered bowl. Let them steam until cool enough to handle-this will make them easier to peel. Rub the skins off with your fingers (if preparing chiles, make sure you are wearing rubber gloves). Don’t worry if you don’t remove every piece of charred skin-a few bits here and there will add smoky flavor. Although this is messy and the peel will stick to your fingers, I don’t recommend peeling the peppers underwater, as some suggest, because it washes away the flavorful oils, making the peppers soggy and flat-tasting. Instead, dip your hands into a bowl of water every so often or wipe them on a paper towel to clean them. Pull out and discard the stem, seeds, and ribs. The peppers are ready to be used in a recipe.
Sour Pickle Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 to 5 Servings
- 1 cup coarsely chopped half-sour or garlic-dill pickles
- 2 tablespoons liquid from pickle jar
(include peppercorns and other flavorings, if desired)
- 3 tablespoons best-quality extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh lemon juice
Place the pickles and pickle liquid in a blender and process at high speed until pureed. With the machine on, slowly add the oil. Continue processing another minute or two, until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. Transfer to a bowl, and add salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. You can serve the sauce right away, but it’s best to allow the flavors to mellow for a while in the refrigerator. Stir the vinaigrette before serving.
As you can see in the photo, I served this with a simple buttered noodle, tossed with paprika and oregano…now forgive me if this isn’t the correct side to go with this, but being my first foray into Jewish cookery, it was the only thing that struck me.
Try it, you gonna like it!!!!!