Mititei. Mici. Skinless minced meat sausages grilled on the BBQ.
I personally prefer to get my meat for my “mici” already prepared and not go through the hassle of making it. However, they are a huge part of the Romanian cuisine and therefore I can’t omit posting a recipe here for those that would like to venture into the making of this skinless sausage.
This is an old recipe, and all the text below is from a letter, sent to a friend by a renowned chef. It dates from around 1920, and below is the transcript.
“Mititei, are a culinary product from beef meat, when done about 7 to 8cm and a thickness of about 3cm, they are served either as a snack in between main meals with a beer, as a starter, or a main meal. They originate in the Balkans, from Serbia, but they can be found also in Greece and Turkey, from where they have found a way into the Romanian cuisine. As their name also implies, they are small cylinders, and are also named “mici” (small), in Regat (part of Romania), from seasoned meat, to bring joy on client’s pallets. They are served only freshly grilled on a charcoal BBQ, either with knife and fork, or a toothpick as a snack.”
“Using beef meat from the neck region, without removing the fat it’s minced twice, to get a finer more even meat mixture. If the meat is too lean, beef suet is to be added, or if not available, even lamb’s, 100 to 150g for each kilo of meat. In any case there won’t be added any lard, belly or pork meat, which will only spoil the lovely savor of “mititei”.”
“Make a stock from marrow beef bones, well reduced, from 500g of bones for each kilo of meat.”
“Prepare for each kilo of meat, spices and seasonings as follows:
- 8 grams black pepper freshly grounded
- 12 grams dried thyme powder
- 4 grams juniper berry powder
- 2 grams powdered coriander
- 2 grams powdered cumin
- 1 gram powdered star anise
- 8 grams bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 spoon of oil
- 1 head of flagrant garlic not the hot garlic
For quantities larger than 5 kilograms, it should be added for another 5 kilograms of meat, an extra measure from the mentioned spices.”
“Mix and knead the meat in a bow for one hour, adding from the start the bicarbonate of soda, which is dissolved in the lemon juice. Half of the stock and all the other spices, apart from the garlic, are added gradually, uniformly and bit by bit. The mixture is then covered and placed in the fridge for one day and one night, after which it’s taken out, left for a few hours to get warmer and it’s mixed and kneaded for another half hour with the rest of the stock. Make a garlic sauce (crush the garlic and mix) with warm water from one garlic head for each kilo of meat, and leave to stand for thirty minutes. Place the garlic juice in a kitchen cloth and squeeze the juice over the meat then mix again the mixture for another 15 minutes. Place back in the fridge until the next day. Three hours before cooking the “mititei”, take the meat mixture from the fridge, to warm and soften; three hours later when the mixture is at room temperature, form “mititei” (sausages) as long as a finger and two fingers thick, coat with oil on all sides and ends and leave to dry for one hour.”
“Fry them on a high heat charcoal fire, basting with garlic sauce, to get a nice crust all around. Our grill men turn each “mititel” (sausage) just three times until it’s done. When fried the “mititei” will shrink a little, therefore their name, or “mici”. They should not be well done in the middle, so no to dry out the juice that contains the taste of the spices. If the heat is too low, they dry out too much, the juice seeps out and become dry. Serve next to fresh buns or sliced bread, with Dijon mustard or spicy mustard, by preference with salt and chili.”
Other popular recipes in this category:
- Best Romanian chicken paprikash with flour dumplings.
- Traditional cabbage rolls (sarmale) stuffed with minced pork and smoked meats.
- Chicken and noodles soup.