23
Nov
2012
Jayne Cohen's picture

Romanian Garlicky Ground Meat Sausages (Carnatzlach) with Sour Pickle Vinaigrette

Jayne Cohen

photo taken by Garrett Ziegler, on June 17, 2011, CC licensing

Recipe from Jayne's book: "Jewish Holiday Cooking: A Food Lover's Treasury of Classics and Improvisations" - buy this book here.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

I love pickles, though they never live up to their smell: a siren song of heady garlic, spicy peppercorns, and other enticing aromatics. Crunchy and cold, they provide refreshing respite from the dryness and density of unsauced meats, especially in sandwiches and simple grills.
Eating carnatzlach, I grew tired of alternating one bite of barbequed meat with a juicy chew of pickle, so I turned the pickle into a sauce.
If you're cutting down on beef, well-seasoned turkey is a good substitute here.

 

Ingredients:
2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic, or to taste
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
About 1 teaspoon salt (more if using ground turkey)
1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or fresh hot but not searing chile (preferably Fresno or serrano, but Hungarian wax, jalapeño, or other varieties will do fine), roasted (see Jewish Red Pepper Platter for method), peeled and finely chopped (be sure to wear rubber gloves when preparing chiles)
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (you can substitute ground turkey--the ground thigh meat will work best--with fine results, but you may want to increase the seasoning slightly)
Oil for greasing the broiler rack or pan, if needed
Accompaniments: Jewish Red Pepper Platter (recipe follows); Sour Pickle Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

In a food processor combine the garlic, paprika, salt, oregano, allspice, black pepper or chile, and 1/4 cup water and pulse until the garlic is chopped very fine. Add a third of the meat and process until thoroughly incorporated with the seasoning. Add another third of the meat and pulse a few times. Add the final third and continue pulsing, stopping to scrape down the bowl if necessary, until the mixture is well combined, very soft, and almost pasty.
Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight so that all the vibrant flavors will meld together.
When ready to cook the carnatzlach, set out a small bowl of cold water and a large platter. Moisten your hands with the water, take a small lump of the meat mixture, and roll it into a sausage 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide (about the size of your middle finger, but a little wider). Place the shaped carnatzl on the platter and continue making more, wetting your hands as necessary, until all the meat is rolled. You'll have approximately 14 to 17 sausages.
Preheat the broiler, outdoor grill, or (my choice) a heavy ridged cast-iron skillet on top of the stove, to high temperature. (Spray rack or pan lightly with oil first, if not nonstick.) Grill or broil the sausages until beautifully browned, crusty, and cooked to desired doneness, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
To serve, arrange some roasted red pepper strips and scallions on a plate. Nestle a few carnatzlach attractively over them, and spoon a generous amount of sour pickle vinaigrette over everything. Garnish with pickles, garlic dill tomatoes, and olives.

 

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