Romanian Food Recipes for Easter
Chicago's Easter Egg Museum
It has been my good fortune and blessing to have had friends and teachers form Eastern Europe and Ukraine. If not for them, I would never have discovered the legacy of the Ukrainian Easter Egg and all of its iterations in Slavic countries. These Easter Eggs of pysanky/krashanky are delicately different in design and patterns in each nation, from the most intricate in Poland and Romania, to a wide variety in Ukraine, to the beet-died solid red eggs in Russia.
My most fascinating experience along these lines was a trip to Chicago, where most people want to see the famous button store. Having never heard of it, I wanted to visit the Ukrainian Museum. I never expected to see articles of clothing several hundred years old - or Ukrainian Easter eggs even older. Drawers and drawers fll of them, all different, I had no idea.
All of the displays have been moved to a larger facility, which I one day plan to visit. I wil never forget the news broadcasts prepeated over the car radio in a different language every 15 minutes. I could not understand much of the Ukrainian broadcast, but could recognize Polish as the language being broadcast, and could follow the Russian broadcast most of the way to its ending. The Romance languages were interesting to hear as well, though mostly meaningless to me.
This was all part of collecting recipes from around the world.
National Museums of Southeast Europe
- RomanianMuseum.com: Folk National Ethnic Costumes of Romania; Port popular romanesc
Also in Chicago. A total of 112 styles of folk costumes matched to a regional map, along with other exhibits.
- Polish Museum of America
Also located in Chicago. Artifacts, displays, and stories from the people that have lived in the Polish neighborhoods around the museum.
- Chicago's Ukrainian National Museum
Among 1100+ artifacts and a library, along with Ukrainian archives from the 1933 World's Fair; this museum holds two half-day Pysanky Workshops in March.
Easter Eggs in Museums
Romanian Food Surprises
A friend of Romanian descent visited cousins in the old country in the late 1970s. French was spoken, and the visiting party managed pretty well. A basketful of surprises awaited at the cousins' house, however.
One of the cousins world for the Communist government as a scientist and medical doctor, so she absented herself from the visit after exchanging greetings, so that she would not need to report the visitors' every activity while in the home.
Another surprise was that homes and families were taxed by the number of rooms in the houses, signified by each door attached to hinges. Since closets had hinged doors, they were considered additional rooms, so all the closet doors were removed.
One other surprise was the lack of refrigeration -- meats, largely sausages, were pushed down into a barrel of lard outside the back door so that they would be preserved. Aside from these surprises, the visit was interesting and the food very good.
Appetizer: Transylvanian Fried Cheese, Popular in Romania
- 1/2 lb Provolone cheese
- 2 Eggs beaten into 2 Tbsp water
- 1.5 Cups seasoned bread crumbs
- 1-2 Cup vegetable oil
- Romaine or any leafy lettuce leaves for serving
- Variety of hot sauces and sour cream
- Slice cheese into 1.5-inch squares, about half an inch thick
- Dip pieces into beaten egg, then into seasoned bread crumbs, then repeat (4 “dips”).
- Heat oil in a frying pan until it just hints at steam.
- Fry breaded cheese until golden brown on both sides.
- Serve fried cheese on large lettuce leaf or smaller leaves & individual plates.
- Serve with hot sauces and sour cream.
Easter Lamb Soup
This dish is made only at Easter and serves 12 people.
- 1 lamb's head and neck [if you prefer not to use this, use a leg of lamb]
- 3 QT water
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 3 Carrots
- 1 Bunch parsley, chopped
- 5 Scallions
- 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 pound spinach
- 1 pound dark green leafy lettuce (like kale)
- 1 pound dock (another green)
- 1/2 pound red pig weed
- ½ pound sour dock (another green)
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 Tbsp Lovage - If you cannot find this herb, chop up celery leaves instead.
- 1 Egg yolk (use the white for some other dish)
- 2 Tbsp Sour cream
- Additional sour cream for use at the table
- In a large pot, boil the lamb in salted water for 30 minutes, discard water, fill the pot again and boil another 30 minutes.
- Chop all the vegetables and greens coarsely, but save out 3 scallions and slice them on the diagonal and save about ¼ of each of the chopped greens and set aside together with sliced scallions.
- Add carrots and parsley to the boiling lamb and boil another 30 minutes.
- Stir in all the greens (except those set aside with the scallions) and stir and boil 10 minutes.
Mix the egg yolk into the sour cream, then remove soup from heat and stir in the sour cream.
- Add the raw greens and scallion remaining, stir, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Serve soup with lamb meat and extra sour cream.
The Pasca Cake of RomaniaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Pasca, the Easter Cake
Sweet bread dough
- 2 Cups flour
- 3 Whole Eggs, beaten
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 Cup milk
- 1 packet yeast dissolved in a bit of the milk above.
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp rum or rum flavoring
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp grated zest
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
Combine flour and sugar and cut butter and oil into flour and add the rest of the ingredients together to form a dough.
- 1 Pound cottage cheese
- 4 Whole eggs, beaten
- 5 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ Cup raisins
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Whole egg, beaten for egg wash for dough
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Take 2/3 of the dough and roll it out to 1” thick.
- Place dough into a round cake pan (round, to remember the shape of baby Jesus's diaper).
- Twist the remaining dough into a rope (or make two strands and twist it together) and stick it around the edge of the cake dough in the pan. This is known as “the rope of life” in the local customs (perhaps the umbilical cord). You might save a small portion of dough and fashion a cross on top of the filling before placing cake in the oven.
- Set the cake aside in a warm place to rise for 60 minutes.
- Mix all of the filling ingredients together to form a paste.
- After dough rises, pour filling into the center and, add the dough cross, if you like.
- Brush the top of cake and filling with beaten egg and place cake into the oven. Let it bake for 45-55 minutes, then turn off oven and prop oven door open until cake is cool (have patience).
The cross pasca is taken to church on Easter Morning to be blessed and then served at home.
Lamb: Drob de Miel
Romanian Haggis: Drob
A Recipe from Transylvania
This is a traditional national Easter dish from a nearby nation that uses the organs of the lamb and is served on Easter Sunday.
- Lamb organs: liver, heart, spleen, kidneys; whatever you have.
- 6 Scallions, chopped
- 4 springs of garlic chives, chopped
- 4 Whole eggs, beaten well
- 1 Cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 Cup fresh dill, chopped
- Caul fat if you can acquire it (fatty membrane around organs; it will melt into the loaf to make it moist)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Loaf Pan
- Bread crumbs
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Wash organs and cut into bite-sized cubes.
- Place cubes in 3 Cups & 1 Cup white vinegar to remove gamey tastes and smells.
- Put cubes cold water in a pot and boil over medium high heat 25 minutes. Remove foam as it is produced with a ladle.
- Remove from heat, discard water, let meat cool for 15 minutes.
- Grind the meat with all remaining ingredients, except eggs; season.
- Beat eggs, add to meat and stir into a thick paste.
- If too dry, add some sour cream or another beaten egg.
- Grease a loaf pan and dust it with bread crumbs.
- If you have it, place caul fat on bottom of pan and put meat mix on top.
- Work the 3 hard boiled eggs into the meat loaf and cover meat with additional caul fat or brush with a little oil.
- Bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven, cool, remove from pan and refrigerate wrapped in plastic wrap.
- To serve, slice the loaf.
GRAVY NOTE: A traditional sauce is made from the crushed cloves of an entire head of garlic, combine with a little oil, salt, and sour cream to the desired consistency.
© 2009 Patty Inglish