Pomana porcului. Pork meat and sausages in sauce with polenta.
Oh, how many different names I have heard this dish being called, most of them funny but by far the funnies being “pork charity”.
I agree it’s difficult to translate and not to make a fool of myself I decided to go with the original and an explanation.
Purists, if there’s such a thing in Romanian cuisine, would make this with liver and kidneys, and some other bits, and only the same day when the pig is killed before Christmas. Never with sausage.
But times move on, and so does cooking, therefore here’s my recipe as I’ve seen it done over the years everywhere in my region of Transylvania.
- 750g pork belly (or shoulder)
- 250g smoked sausages (optional)
- 50ml oil or a tablespoon of lard
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 500ml white wine
- 2-3 bay leaves
Cut the meat into cubes, about 5-6cm each. Cut the sausages into 5-6cm pieces as well.
Heat the oil or the lard (there is a lot of lard used in Romanian cooking, less these days but quite a lot in the past as a substitute for oil, and in my opinion a tastier one) in a pan until it gets very hot.
Best to use a heavy bottomed cast iron pan for this. Add the meat, and fry for a few minutes, stirring from time to time until the meat gets a nice brown colour and crust.
Once done, crush and add the garlic to the pan, also the bay leaves and the wine. Complete by adding 500ml of water. Leave to simmer, partially covered until the meat in tender and the liquid evaporates leaving a thick and flavored sauce. More water can be added if needed, bit by bit whilst cooking.
Finally add the sausages (if used) for the last 10 minutes to cook through. Serve hot with some polenta meal and some sharp cheese over the top.
That’s how I make “pomana porcului”, not always with sausages, but I do add them if I have them. Pickled cabbage also works well here.
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