More Balkan Delights

Since my last posting, I’ve made Romanian chicken kebabs and added a lovely Bulgarian bean soup to our family favorites.  Boy was I surprised when everybody in my family liked a vegetarian dish!

But before I get to the recipes, let me make a brief announcement to my faithful readers:  I’m having hip replacement surgery right after New Year’s Day, so I may be a little distracted from doing a lot of cooking and posting in the next few weeks, and I will not be doing any cooking in January, at least for a while. But I’ll be back, because the next culinary sojourn will be to Italy and I can’t wait to plunge in!  And we still have another week of delicious Balkan recipes, including a baked omelet from the island of Rhodes, and a lamb stew from Greece.  Stay posted, friends. . . . . lots of delectable recipes to be revealed.

Bob Chorba (Monastery Style) White Bean Soup

  • 1 lb. white beans (I recommend cannellini)
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1/2 celery diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 2 green peppers, minced
  • 1 chile pepper (optional)
  • several Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
  • pinch of mint or oregano (mint was yummy)
  • salt to taste

Soak the beans in cold water for 3-4 hours and drain.  Cover with fresh water and boil in a pot together with carrots, onion and celery.  Boil until the beans are soft, then add peppers, tomatoes and mint/oregano. Add salt to taste and boil for another 15-20 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with finely chopped parsley.

Note: The type of bean makes a big difference. Cannellini beans kept their firmness and also gave the dish a more visual appeal. Also, the original of this recipe called for 2 Tbs. of oil in the pot, but I did not add it.

Romanian Chicken Kebabs, (Frigarui) served with Romanian Garlic Sauce.

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 and 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 ounce mixed chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 3 ounces plain yogurt (I used soy yogurt because of dairy intolerance
  • 1 red pepper cut in large 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 green pepper cut in large 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 onion, cut from stalk end into eighths.

Combine herbs, pepper, lemon juice, sugar, ginger, garlic and yogurt and then place mixture in a plastic zip-top bag or other sealable container.  Add chicken cubes, covering all the chicken pieces with marinade, and refrigerate over night or at least three hours.

Heat grill. (You can also broil in oven, but be sure to turn them)  Thread chicken pieces on skewers, interspersing them with the pepper and onion pieces.  (If skewers are wooden, soak for an hour so they don’t catch fire on the grill). Grill kebabs on greased grates about 10 to 15 minutes or until done and serve with Romanian Garlic Sauce.

Romanian Garlic Sauce

  • 1 head fresh garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or beef broth)
  • black pepper

1)  Put the cloves of garlic in a mortar with the salt and crush until they are a paste. (You can also crush them in a press or mince very finely and then add the salt later).

2)  Put the mashed garlic in a bowl and add the oil, beating with a fork until it is well mixed and somewhat fluffy.

3)  Add the sour cream or the beef broth and mix well.

4)  Serve with grilled meat, fish, or french fries, baked potatoes etc.

(This recipe was from Food.com, under the title of Mujdei De Ustoroi, or Romanian Garlic Sauce).

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About tamisrenteria

Tamis Renteria, author and anthropologist, writes novels and short stories about people struggling with different religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions. She lives with her husband and youngest son in Tucson, Arizona where she types on a Mac, cooks ethnic food, and gardens among the sahuaros.
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