In Cosmin's region of Romania, Satu Mare in Transylvania, 1 May is unofficially Bograc day. They pack up a big metal pot resembling a cauldron called a ceaun, a tripod, a shed load of meat and plenty of beer. Then it's off to a forest for an almighty cook up.
Me and Cosmin had been lusting after a ceaun for a while now, and managed to get our very own one courtesy of his parents in the last package (read shipping container) from Romania. Just in time for 1 May :;-)
Bograc is not a Romanian dish, it's Hungarian, but the Romanians close to the border have adopted it and really made it their own, and it was from the Romanian version that I took my inspiration. To break it down for you, today we had an English woman developing and cooking the Romanian version of a Hungarian dish that she had never tasted before for a gang of Romanian and English guests.
This recipe makes a lot of soup and at this volume you really do need a cauldren or something similar in size. It can however be easily scaled down and cooked in your kitchen, so please don't be put off in the highly likely scenario that you don't have a ceaun floating around.
- 125g beef dripping
- 1.2kg onions (about 10 medium) peeled and finely chopped
- 750g carrots peeled and finely diced
- 500g celery finely diced
- 3 green peppers deseeded and diced
- 2 red peppers deseeded and diced
- 1.2kg braising beef, cubed
- 500g bacon lardons
- 3 tbsp smoked paprika
- Boiling water (enough to cover ingredients
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1.2kg pork leg cut into cubes
- 800g tinned tomatoes deseeded and diced
- 1.5 tubes goulash paste
- 1 red chilli pepper (left whole)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 kg potatoes peeled and diced
- 2 eggs
- 200g flour
- 100ml water
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION
- Calories | 328
- Fat | 13.4g
Serves | 30
Prep Time | 45 minutes
Cooking Time | Appx 3.5 hours
- Melt the lard in a very very very large pot, ideally a ten litre cauldron over an open fire.
- Sauté the onion, carrot, celery and peppers in the lard until translucent.
- Season generously with salt and pepper then stir in the beef and smoked bacon and cook for about 30 minutes stirring regularly.
- Stir in the paprika, slowly mix in 500ml of boiling water and cook for an hour and a half stirring regularly and topping up the water as needed.
- Stir in the pork and cook for ten minutes, stirring regularly.
- Mix the goulash paste and tomatoes together and stir into the bograc.
- Add enough water to sit about 5-6cm above the ingredients, top with the bay leaves and whole chilli pepper and cook for a further approximate 1.5 hours until the meat is very tender.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pan, boil the potatoes for ten minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
- To prepare the dumplings simply mix together all the ingredients.
- Stir the potatoes into the stew. Drop in teaspoons of the dumpling batter into the bograc and cook for approximately ten minutes.