It is time for another recipe for one of our unique Romanian dishes. “Mititei” have been associated with Romanian cuisine since about 1865-1866. In Bucharest, on Covaci street, a popular inn named “La Iordachi” (At Iordachi’s), was well known for its delicious sausages. One night, so the story goes, the kitchen ran out of one kind of sausage, so they mixed the ingredients left over, roll them into small sausage shaped patties, and grilled them on charcoal without the usual casing. Their regular customers loved them so much that they asked for more of “the wee ones without skin” and with time they became known as “mititei” or “the wee ones”.
I will now share with you the recipe for the “mititei” but sometimes this recipe can be adapted.
2 lb. medium-lean ground beef( you can use lamb, mutton or pork instead or a combination of two)
2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. water
3 garlic cloves,crushed
2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. crushed hot red pepper
1/2 tsp hot paprika
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Place the ground beef in a big bowl and add all the ingredients. Mix them all very well and then knead mixture with your hands for at least 5 minutes wetting your hands frequently. This is important because the water from your wet hands mixes with the meat and helps keep the mititei moist. Place mixture in a bowl, cover with a plate or with foil and put in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight. If you have people coming for a BBQ always try and mix the ingredients the previous evening!
Use a tablespoon to take meat from the bowl and then with your hands make small meatballs. The. Roll between your hands into sausages about 4 inch long and 1 inch thick. Make them like little cylinders. This will prevent the sausages from swelling up while grilling.
Once ready grill or barbecue turning mititei frequently to cook evenly. You will need to use tongs and not a fork. If you use a fork this will pierce them. Using the tongs will keep the juices in the meat. While they cook baste frequently with water or beef stock to keep them moist. They should be ready in about 10-12 minutes. Don’t overlook them. My father always says that the best mititei are still juicy!
Traditionally , mititei are served with French fries and salad and they are dipped in mustard.