Today we are going to Oltenia, an area in the southeast of Romania.
Today on the Cooking Show we are going to Oltenia, an area in the southeast of Romania. There, people use for cooking a special type of clay vessel called a 'țest'. It is meant to be used instead of a traditional oven, because it can be used directly over an open fire or over a hot grill. It is a versatile tool, because it can be used to cook various dishes, as well as to bake bread or pastries. Also, it requires less fuel and heats up much faster than a regular oven. It also saves wood, because people generally use twigs, dried leftovers from various plants, or dried corn cobs. It has a built-in handle to hang over an open fire or in an open fireplace. To make bread in it, simply take water, flour, salt, and yeast. Set the vessel to preheat over the fire. Instead of yeast, sometimes people used foam gathered when fermenting fruit. Knead the dough and leave it to rise. Coat with egg wash or tomato juice, then place it in in the vessel. It takes about half an hour to be ready. If you think the heat is too intense, you can cover the dough inside the vessel with cabbage leaves.
The țest is also great for cooking soups and stews. Take a whole chicken, coat it with oil, and the seasoning of your choice. Throw in cubed potatoes, sliced carrots, bell pepper, sliced into strips, finely chopped onions, and green beans. This also takes about half an hour to cook.
One dish typical of Oltenia is a soup made with a local variety of Italian Sweet peppers, called 'raci'. They are preserved by sewing them on a string and hung to dry. Sweat some finely chopped onion, then add in tomato paste, flour, group pepper, and salt to taste. Fill up the peppers with this mixture. Put them in a soup pot and cover them with a mixture of water and sauerkraut juice, in which you have previously boiled sliced carrots, finely shredded parsnip, and fried finely chopped onion. Add tomato juice or paste, boil for half an hour, then garnish with chopped fresh parsley.