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Monday, December 13, 2010

Romanian and Moldavian "tochitura" (with polenta)

This is one of our homeland's most traditional dishes. Not very light but certainly delicious and easy to make. Don't serve it with bread or rice, as the polenta in it replaces them. Also, we used olive oil as cooking grease, but traditionally sunflower kernel oil or butter is used, so feel free to choose whatever you please. And also we used turkey meat although traditionally pork meat is used. But other than that, it is 100% traditional. It's ready in 30 minutes. We're sure you'll enjoy it.

Ingredients (serves 2 very very hungry people):
  • 200 g of corn maize
  • 600 ml of water
  • some salt
  • a dash of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 100-150 g thin, crispy and smoked sausages (we used some made after a Tirol recipe)
  • 200 g salted, hard, white cheese (ours was 45% fat)
  • 200 g turkey meat (but any kind of meat or livers will do)
  • some olive oil (or some other cooking oil or grease)
  • 2 eggs
  • about 100 g of cream

Heat the water in a pot with a sprinkle of salt in it. When it starts to boil, add the corn maize very gradually and stirring. 

Make sure it's evenly spread through the water. Let it boil on medium intensity for about 20-25 minutes, making sure you stir and check it every 5 minutes. Also, you may want to put a lid on the pot, not because it helps with the making of the polenta, but because it has a habit of popping bubbles of very hot corn maize around it and you may get a burn if you stay too close to it and it's not covered. 

Next, cut the sausages into little pieces (about 1 cm thick):

When you're done, the polenta should be about ready and it should look like this:

If it's done, put it aside the flame and place the lid back on the pot to keep it warm until you finish the rest. 

Next, cut the meat into fine square pieces, about 2-3 cm wide:

Put some oil in a pan and add the meat pieces:

Immediately sprinkle a pinch of salt, the pepper and half the paprika on them:
 Roast the meat for 4-5 minutes and them turn the pieces on the other side. 

While the meat roasts, put the polenta on 2 plates, occupying only half of each plate with it, like this:
If necessary, pat the polenta with a fork so it's evenly spread.

It's probably time to turn the meat pieces to the other side. Do it using two forks:
Sprinkle the rest of the paprika on them and let them roast for another 4-5 minutes. 

In the meantime, cut the salty cheese into bits, just like you did with the meat and sausages:

The meat should be ready. Let the pan over the heat source and add the sausages. Stir and let the whole thing cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Put the cheese bits on top of the polenta, like this:

Put the meat and sausage pieces next to the polenta, like this:
You may put all the oil in the pan in the plate along with the meat. There shouldn't be much left anyway and it should have a lovely spicy flavor.

Put the two eggs in the pan (with a new gurgle of oil), without scrambling them:

Don't fry them too much, the egg yellow should remain liquid. 3 minutes (without turning them on the other side, but just pouring some of the hot oil in the pan over their tops using a spoon) is enough. 

In the meantime, pour the cream over the cheese in the plates. Make sure you stick to that side of the plate with it, putting cream over the meat would ruin the dish's looks :).

The eggs should be done by now. This is how they should look:

Put each egg on top of each plate, like this:

Everything is ready. Serve while hot. Dig in!

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