Juranda’s Homemade Romanian Food: Spicy “Babic” chicken with wild garlic risotto
Babic is a traditional spicy salami from Buzau county. The name Babic has Serbian roots and the original recipe for this homemade sausages comes probably from Serbia. The legend says that Napoleon, retreating from a disastrous battle in Russia, stopped one night in Buzau, hosted by the nobleman Vernescu (today Memorial House Vernescu in the village of Parscov). Napoleon was excited about Buzau food and took Tuica, cheese, and Babic with him on his way back to France. Since that period, Babic became famous all over Romania.
Traditional Babic is made of beef, pork, and spicy paprika. It is only produced in late autumn, dried in cool attic room, and smoked for several hours. Many say seize does not matter, but the original Babic from Buzau must have 40 cm.
Today, I will prepare a fusion dish with 4 main ingredients: chicken, Babic minced meat, rice and wild garlic, also known as bear’s garlic. I prefer the second name as we find it directly near our house from the surrounding Carpathian forests. Bear’s garlic can be found at the edge of the forests so it is not necessary to also meet a Carpathian bear.
Chicken (for 4 persons):
1 farm chicken (preferably organic, free-range)
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of cumin
150 gr of babic mince meat (mainly found in traditional food magazines from the Buzau region)
2 tablespoons of butter
Wild garlic pesto
One bunch of wild garlic
2 tablespoons of roasted pine nuts
4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
Wild garlic risotto
2 cups of Arborio rice
1 glass of white wine (preferably a good dry Dealu Mare wine)
2 tablespoons wild garlic pesto
2 tablespoons butter
How to prepare
(1) Preheat the oven (ca.160 degrees).
(2) Make a pocket between the chicken breast skin and the chicken breast with a tablespoon.
(3) Place the babic mince meat in this pocket and spread it uniformly under the skin, on all the surface of the breast.
(4) Make a marinade of salt, pepper and all other spices with the butter.
(5) Spread the marinade all over the chicken, cover it and put the chicken in the oven for 2 hours.
(6) At the end, uncover your chicken, rise the temperature of your oven to 200 degrees and give the chicken a nice brown colour.
Wild Garlic pesto
(1) Wash the wild garlic
(2) Put the leaves in a food processor along with the pine nuts, grated parmesan and a little bit of olive oil
(3) Mix all together and add salt or olive oil upon your taste
Wild garlic risotto
(1) Put a pan on the low-medium heat
(2) Add the butter and then the Arborio rice. Let it roast a little bit, then add the wine.
(3) Add your chicken stock little by little and stir all the time. Your risotto must be creamy
(4) At the end, add the wild garlic pesto and serve the rice
(5) Don’t forget to taste if it needs more salt!
Enjoy your meal, Pofta buna!
Juranda Kirschner, guest writer
Photo credits: Terra Carpatica/ Tara-n Bucate