Romanian baked beans with smoked pork knuckle. Traditional baked beans with smoked meat.
For those that don’t yet know, the Romanian national day (Great Union Day) falls on 1st of December.
I can’t say that the celebrations are bigger than in the US on the 4th of July, but for sure they are better than St. George’s day in England on the 23rd of April.
It’s cold, so mulled wine and hot plum brandy are usually consumed in vast quantities. As far as food goes, grilled skinless sausages, “mici” or “mititei“, pork collar steaks on the BBQ, stuffed cabbage rolls, smoked sausages, pickles…And this dish here, the Romanian baked beans, which must be the favorite, are all enjoyed, once more, in large numbers.
And then there’s music, and dancing, and more plum brandy and wine, them more food of course…
- 1 pig smoked knuckle (4-600g)
- 400g white beans
- 2 onions, 1 carrot
- 2-3 garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 red pepper (optional)
- 100ml tomato passata
- 100ml oil
- 3-4 bay leaves
- black peppercorns
- salt, pepper, paprika, thyme
- fresh parsley (optional)
Now, this is not such a complicated dish, but it does require some time, and some organising. Let’s start with the beans. Dried beans must be soaked in cold water overnight so they hydrate and cook faster. If not, they’ll need boiling, over 2 hours. Then the smoked pig’s knuckle. Big, salted and smoked, this needs a long time to cook as well. So I’ll try to make this easier, in a few steps. And we presume that the beans have been soaked overnight.
- Place the pig’s knuckle in a large pot with the bay leaves, black peppercorns and the sliced garlic. Add water, just enough to cover. Bring to boil and simmer on a low heat for about 2 hours or until the meat has cooked and starts to fall off the bone. More water can be added as it cooks. Once done, remove the meat from the pot, leave to cool and then take it off the bone, ripping it into smaller pieces. Do not discard the stock, the beans will be cooked in the same pot. Just keep it hot on the heat.
- Now in a large frying pan, heat up the oil. Finely chop the onions, carrot and red pepper and add to pan. Fry for a few minutes until softened. Five will do. Once softened add one teaspoon of sweet paprika and mix well for 30 seconds. Add the vegetables to the stock pot. Add the beans and bring back to boil.
- Once the pot comes back to boil, add the tomato passata and a pinch of dried thyme. Simmer again on a low heat for about one hour, or until the beans are cooked. The vegetables should almost disintegrate and you should allow the stock to reduce and form a thick sauce. Therefore make sure that as the beans cook you don’t add (if needed) too much water. Only now, taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley on the top (purely optional) and the meat aside, or you can mix it in with the beans. And a side of red onion salad. Traditional.
And this is how my friends I shall be aiming to celebrate this year, with Romanian baked beans, some plum brandy and plenty of mulled wine. Cheers! And “La multi ani Romania!!!”
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.