Sunday, December 29, 2013

In The Company Of Shepherds

There is never a dull moment in the Romanian kitchen or the table for that matter. So for today's journey the table is set outdoors, in the heart of the mountains in the company of shepherds in the Fagaras Mountains.

Flock of sheep on the hills of the Carpathian Mountains


The colors of the day are muted rich greens disappearing into cerulean pale blue skies.

The sides of the mountains and emerald green meadows are gently dotted with brush stokes in shades of white, gray and black forming a moving tapestry...the hundreds of sheep, their guardians, shepherds and mountain dogs.

Sheep dog from Fagaras

The STANA, corrals with sheep waiting to be milked, has several fires going with large kettles that are are sending si
gnals of warm milk and smoke.
The charcoals are dripping with juices from sides of lamb and wild mushrooms filled with goat cheese.

Shepherd from Sibiu

Shepherd Polenta

Shepherd's Goat Cheese Grilled Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms
Prosciutto chopped fine

Goat cheese
Garlic finely chopped
Fresh dill finely chopped

Basil, fresh or dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil
  • Clean the mushrooms, removing the caps and setting aside.
  • Chop finely the stems and place in a sauteuse with some olive oil, the prosciutto and the garlic. Allow to release their juices, stirring occasionally, salt and pepper to taste. Cook at medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the goat cheese in a bowl with the dill and basil, sweet paprika salt and pepper.
  • Fill each mushroom cap with prosciutto and garlic mixture and a spoon of the goat cheese spread on top.
  • They should be grilled on medium hot coals for few minutes and served hot.
  • The mushrooms could also be baked in a baking dish brushed with olive oil and a couple of spoons of water. Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes and broiled for 3 minutes more.
This dish is enjoyed with a demi-sec white wine Feteasca Alba from Sebes.

On the day of St. George, the protector saint of the flocks, dogs and shepherds, the tradition of centuries is to make a basket with clay pots filled with fresh milk, sweet rolls and a candle. 

The women take them to poor families in the village as an offering for next year's safe and prosperous sheep herding season.

                                          Voyages of Discovery