Cooking in a cast iron kettle #fromRomania


Yesterday was a good day, with a great ending. Doru Panaitescu called me two or three days ago to ask me if I would like to be around a cast iron kettle with the gang that’s off to rediscover Romania. As I had already missed two opportunities of surprising Doru with my cast iron kettle cooking, and as I also missed the latest opportunity of hitting the road with the Rediscover Romania (Redescoperă România) campaign, I unchecked some things on my agenda until yesterday night became available. I had the pleasure of cooking with three cast iron kettles for the happy gang (thank you for the opportunity, dear friends, I’m not going to mention all of you here, but I want you to know you made my evening), which was reunited somewhere in the Gruia neighborhood, at Ioana’s place. Octavian (Ioana’s son, who’s planned to be my apprentice, at least occasionally), Ioana and her father helped me. Raluca also helped me, as the chief in charge of the dishes. I cooked a bobgulyas, meaning a veal stew with smoked pork and beans, with two varieties – one was parsley flavored and the other was with lovage and hot pepper paste. I also made a tarragon flavored mutton gulyas, the best I’ve made so far.

For the mutton gulyas, I scalded the meat in water and vinegar before putting it into the cast iron kettle. That’s not only for closing the pores, but also for moderating the scent.

The base of the food (for all three kettles): roasted peppers (300 grams for 10 servings), bell peppers (2), green onions (4), garlic (5 cloves), celery (200 grams), carrots (4-5), all diced and mixed.

Peppers cut into cubes and into strips, the green onion chopped grossly – these are for the final plating.

The smoked pork goes well with the veal, not with the mutton (although I don’t know what would keep you from adding it next to the mutton if you want it).

In order to obtain the fat necessary to start cooking, I melted a few cubes of smoked cured pork fat, which I then removed from the kettle.

I added the vegetable mix and stirred well. I waited for the vegetables to soften.

I added the meats to the kettles. I then added white wine.

I covered it with water and let it boil. On low heat and on high heat, for about three full hours.

Finally, in the cast iron kettles with veal I added beans (in one of them I also added hot pepper paste). In the end, I added parsley to one and lovage to the other. And a tablespoon of paprika to each. Salt to taste, obviously.

In the kettle with mutton I added potatoes, I let them boil and then I added fresh tomatoes. I let it simmer on low heat and in the end I added fresh, flavored tarragon.

I was amazed by the grill transformed into a hearth for cast iron kettles.

And by the view.

The food wasn’t too bad either.

The guests were too hungry to say how great it was :)

The end of the day, extraordinary. Stay healthy.


Special thanks to
Oana Bodnariuc, Authorized Translator

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