Romanian Chicken Ghiveci

Romanian Chicken Ghiveci
Romanian Chicken Ghiveci

Stews are big in Romania and all over Eastern Europe.  One pot dishes, over time, provided a hearty sustenance for first, peasants in the fields and later, workers in the factories.  These dishes are always packed full of flavour from in season produce and, traditionally, home-grown herbs.  Served with a side portion of rice or dark rye bread, traditional meals are not only easy but can also be a really cheap way of feeding your 5,000 (family and/or friends).  I cooked this for my family and it proved to be every bit delicious as I had anticipated.

 

Ingredients

4 tbsp vegetable oil

1 mild onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 red peppers, seeded and sliced

1.5kg / 3 1/2 lb chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks etc. as chicken on the bone is best for flavour)

3 potatoes, diced

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

3 carrots, cut into chunks

1/2 small celeriac cut into chunks

120 ml dry white wine

2 courgettes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh rosemary, marjoram to garnish

Rye bread and/or white rice to serve

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole

Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until soft

Add the red peppers

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Place the chicken pieces in a casserole and brown gently on all sides

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After about 15 minutes, add the tomato puree, potatoes, herbs, carrots, celeriac, white wine and season to taste

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Cover and cook over a gentle heat for 50 minutes

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Add the sliced courgettes 5 minutes before the end of cooking

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Season to taste

Garnish with herbs and serve with a portion of white rice or dark rye bread

Serve

Serve!

Restoran Katedralis, Zagreb

Zagreb Cathedral
Zagreb Cathedral

Restoran Katedralis sits on a corner overlooking Zagreb’s beautiful cathedral.  The restaurant offers a vast menu with plenty of Croatian delights to satisfy the hungry tourist looking to indulge in some local specialities and best yet, this restaurant is not a tourist trap.  The large, split-level terrace is filled with tables of Croatians enjoying great food and fantastic wine.  The restaurant staff are attentive and friendly, without being overbearing.

While mulling over the menu, the waiter presents soft white bread, accompanied by a local, soft cheese, mixed with cream and herbs.  The cheese may resemble coleslaw (one food stuff I simply loathe) but it tastes delicious and is worth trying, even if one finds its appearance slightly off-putting.

Kruh, sir i vrhnje
Kruh, sir i vrhnje

The main courses on offer include a selection of typical home-cooked meals, as well as usual restaurant favourites such as Zagrebački Odrezak (veal schnitzel Zagreb).  The schnitzel was served with a garlic dipping sauce, wedge of lemon, thin, fried onions, and some carved carrots and radish.  The schnitzel was thick and wrapped in ham and cheese before covered in breadcrumbs and fried.  The cheese, usually an edam like cheese, oozed out with every cut of the knife.  This plate was quite simply heavenly but incredibly large which made it a little bit of a challenge to eat every morsel!

Zagrebacki Odrezak
Zagrebacki Odrezak

Other traditional main courses included a mixed meat plate, with beef, pork and chicken, served with a herb sauce, and a veal saltimbocca, the latter of which is traditionally Italian but also eaten and enjoyed throughout Croatia.  However, unusually, the veal saltimbocca, a thin veal escalope with sage, prosciutto and dry sherry, was served with a pepper sauce.

Mixed Plate
Mixed Plate

A mixed dish of grilled vegetables, aubergine, courgette and white pepper with cubed potatoes made the perfect side dish.

Veal Saltimbocca
Veal Saltimbocca

The wine list boasted many great Croatian wines and Graševina, Vrhunsko vino, Vinogorje Kutjevo, Berba 2007, 12% vol. seemed like the perfect choice to wash down the meal with.  Not too immature, as many East European wines can be, the taste is smooth, dry and not too floral and its colour was golden.  The wine and meal was followed by a homemade pear schnapps which was quite lethal!

Grilled vegetables & potatoes
Grilled vegetables & potatoes

What to know: 10% discount for cash

Restoran Katedralis

Bakačeva 9

10000 Zagreb

Tel: (01) 48 14 938

Related Images:

A Balkan Side Dish: Courgettes with Rice

This Balkan side dish is super tasty, if a bit time-consuming and is really healthy.  Make large quantities and either keep leftovers in the fridge or freezer to reheat as and when you want it.

Ingredients:

(serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side dish)

1kg small or medium courgettes

60ml olive oil

3 white onions

3 garlic cloves

1tsp chili powder

1 can chopped tomatoes

200g risotto rice

600ml vegetable or chicken stock

2 tbsp parsley

white pepper

sour cream

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C

Top and tail courgettes and slice into large chunks

Heat half the olive oil in large frying pan

Gently fry chopped onions and garlic

Onion & Garlic

Stir in chili powder

Onion, garlic, chili

Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes

Tomatoes

Add courgettes

Courgette

Cook over gentle to medium heat for 10 minutes

Add rice to pan

Rice

Add stock to pan, cover and simmer for 45 minutes

Stock

Stir occasionally to prevent rice it sticking

Simmering

Remove pan from heat

Stir in white pepper and parsley

Pepper & parsley

Spoon into ovenproof dish

Bake for 45 minutes

Halfway through cooking, brush the remaining olive oil over mixture

Garnish with parsley, black olives and sour cream

Done! Serve!

Done! Serve!