Romanian Chiftelute Marinate... Chicken Meatballs in a light tomato gravy. I realize I haven't posted in a great while. Probably the longest break I've taken since the first day of blogging. Many of you may have wondered why the absence.
I can't explain how it all happened. It didn't happen all of a sudden. But I've come to a point where I've lost the passion I once had, that kept me blogging because I LOVED it. I still love to cook and am in the kitchen cooking or baking most days.
While this blog will always have a special place in my heart (I still use it for my personal reference), I've slowly decided to back off a bit. I'm sure I'll still be around... especially to answer questions... and post a new recipe every once in a while. And I ALWAYS love to hear your feedback.
But for the past several years, I've struggled to write about what matters most to me... here on a food blog. My relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ has hardly been mentioned... aside from the verses posted on the side and banner above.... and in a few comments. I didn't know how to combine the two without feeling like I'm "shoving Christianity" your way. So I've kept this site mostly free from what matters most to me in my life... and that is my Saviour, My King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So during my absence, I've been trying to strengthen my spiritual walk in written form. As a little girl I used to write in a journal of sorts. It wasn't daily, but it was a special place where I could talk with my Lord about what mattered most to me. I kept the journaling for a few years... then college years arrived, then marriage and slowly my journaling dissipated from my life.
This past February I decided to blog about my walk with God... in another place. Separate from food. Separate from other activities. I didn't want to share my spiritual blog with anyone.... Didn't see the need to. Actually, my writing started well before February, in a small notebook... and later on it moved to a blog. Since writing on the blog, the Lord kept nudging at me... share it... because someone may be encouraged.
My desire is for all my readers to know the true Savior... the one who died for our sins, that we might have eternal life. I realize that God has to do the work of salvation in each of our hearts... He ultimately does the saving. Not me, not you. But He does use us to further His kingdom. And so I'll share my other blog... for spiritual food... for those of you who care to drop by and be encouraged to walk daily with the King. Here is the link: God's Grace In Montana. I'll also place a link on the side bar for quick reference.
I couldn't drop by without sharing a recipe... a recipe I LOVED as a child. I made it recently and thought to add it to my Romanian section and hope you enjoy it as well. The recipe, in order to work, requires made-from-scratch meatballs... you could probably get away with using a good quality chicken stock, but I highly recommend a homemade version as well. And while you can serve the meatballs and sauce with rice or pasta, I wouldn't recommend it... just because good mashed potatoes and this dish work incredibly well.
The sauce is a light tomato gravy that has a slight tanginess from the vinegar...but is balanced by a touch of sweetness. Yes, it's simple, but it's delicious with the flavorful meatballs. There is no garlic or onion in the sauce.... and I wouldn't add it either, just because in order for this dish to be different from other sauce recipes, the sauce has to let the meatballs shine. There's nothing overpowering.
I'm sure there are a ton of variations to this dish... but this is the way my mom made it and I wouldn't have it any other way. I know I usually say you can change the recipe to fit your tastes... and you definitely can:)... but somehow this recipe is good as is. You can decrease the vinegar a bit if you like, and if you like your sauce a bit more tomato-y, feel free to use rounded tablespoons. Also, if you like a thicker gravy add slightly rounded tablespoons of flour as well.
Thank you for being faithful readers and for being with me all these years. I'll do my best to post a recipe every so often.... but my priority is growing in the knowledge of the LORD. Hope you enjoy...
You will need:
Note: I've included the links below to the meatballs, stock and mashed potatoes.
2 TBS oil
2 TBS flour
2 TBS tomato paste
1-2 TBS apple cider vinegar, depending on tanginess desired
1/2 tsp sugar
3 1/2- 3 2/3 homemade chicken stock
few whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper as needed
1. Add oil in a medium soup pot and heat on medium/low till oil gets somewhat hot.
2. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or so... until flour is thoroughly mixed in with the oil and turns a pale color.
3. Remove pot from heat and add vinegar... it will sizzle and clump up somewhat.
4. Off heat, add the tomato paste and whisk until fully combined with the flour mixture.
5. Slowly add the chicken stock while whisking continuously to remove all lumps.
6. Place pot back on heat and add sugar, bay leaves and a few whole peppercorns. You may choose to season with salt if needed... depending on how salty the chicken stock is.
7. Add cooked meatballs to sauce and increase heat to bring the sauce up to a boil. Cover pot and lower heat to maintain a simmer.
8. Cook sauce for 10 minutes covered.
9. Remove lid and cook an additional 20 minutes ... adjusting heat to maintain a soft boil. I left my heat on a medium/low. Stir sauce every so often to ensure nothing is sticking.
10. Cook until sauce coats the back of the spoon and thickens slightly... similar to a gravy. Sauce will thicken a bit more as it sits and cools down.
11. Season with salt if needed and ladle unto a mound of creamy mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley and freshly cracked pepper. Serve with a salad... or pickled vegetables/sauerkraut/pickles.