I've been having a hard time finding recipes for dinner lately. Everyone in my family is so picky (including myself) that it is close to impossible to cook something that everyone will like.
So this morning I decided that I will try to make something that my husband will like , even if that meant that the kids would end up eating last night's pasta leftovers. I remember Dominic telling me recently that he would like to have this Romanian stew, called "tocanita" for dinner some time.
I've made tocanita before but it never came out well. The meat was always too hard and the sauce had no taste. This time, however, I did some more research and combined several recipes. This is what I came up with:
1/4 cup cooking oil (I use Canola)
1-1.5 lbs meat cut in small pieces (mixture of pork or beef, one good quality spicy sausage sliced and some smoked pork
1 medium size onion chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes skinned or 3 Roma tomatoes cut in 1 inch cubes
1 red pepper cut in thin slices
1 lb sliced white mushrooms
8 dried juniper berries/allspice? (ienibahar), one bay leaf,paprika, salt, pepper
1.5 cups cooked Spaetzle (German dumplings)
1. Heat the oil and sautee the onion for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Add meat (only the raw meat at this point, not the cooked sausages and smoked meat). Sautee for 5-10 minutes until meat is no longer pink, then add 1/4 cup water and cook on low covered. Do not add salt in the beginning because the salt will make the meat hard.
2. After the meat has been cooking on low for about 30 minutes, add the red peppers, mushrooms, juniper, bay leaf, paprika and some black pepper. Add another 1/4 cup water and continue simmering for another 30-45 minutes.
3. At that point add the sausage, smoked meat and tomatoes (tomatoes also tend to make the meat hard if added to soon). Cook about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.
4. Taste the sauce. Add salt to taste. If the sauce is too brothy, make a paste with 1 tbsp flour mixed with 1 tsp oil and than with 2 tbsp of sauce, then add this mixture to the pot and mix well in the sauce.
5. Add cooked Spaetzle and simmer another 5 minutes.
6. Add parsley and lovage (leustean).
7. Serve with sour cream, jalapeno peppers and Italian bread.