In Houston and Alexandria, I became familiar with Cevapcici, the fresh sausage of Bosnia. I am sure it will be the subject of a later post. This post is about a similar sausage from Romania. It is a skinless fresh sausage which is grilled like Americans grill a hamburger. This version is from Elisabeth Luard’s The Old World Kitchen, about European peasant cooking. The pictures only show the sausage, but the peppers were a key part of the whole experience. The authentic recipe uses summer savory, which can be hard to get in the US. I got a small pot of summer savory from one of Richmond’s best nurseries, so I was able to use the authentic herbal ingredient. If fresh summer savory is not available, I think that fresh marjoram or oregano would also do well.
3 red or green bell peppers
3 Tbs. olive oil (Romanians would use safflower oil, but I like olive oil better)
1 Tbs. wine vinegar
Salt, pepper, and sugar to taste
1 lb. finely ground meat (beef is traditional. I used heritage pork which I had in the freezer)
1 Tbs. fresh summer savory, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. salt
The day before eating this dish, roast the peppers on a grill until the skins are well blackened. Put them in a plastic bag to steam the skins off. Peel the peppers, remove the stems and seeds, and cut them into strips. Put the pepper strips in a bowl with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Mix and allow to marinade overnight.
A few hours before eating this dish, make the sausages. Pound the garlic and salt into a paste in a mortar. Mix the garlic, salt, summer savory, allspice, and ground meat together. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator a couple of hours to blend the flavors.
Heat the grill. Clean the grate and oil it. Divide the meat into 8 portions and form each portion into a cylinder about an inch in diameter.
Cook the sausages about 4-4 minutes on the first side, turn them over and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Serve with the peppers, mustard, and crusty bread.