Garlicky Stinging Nettles Stew with Polenta [ R o m a n i a n R e c i p e ]

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At the beginning of each spring, grandpa would head to the woods near the village to forage one of the first spring greens to appear: stinging nettles. Despite the stinging, he would always pick them up with no gloves on as touching the plant bare-handed “helped with rheumatism”, according to grandpa.

The harvested young nettle plants would then get a good clean from grandma who would blanch and saute them with a bit of oil and a good amount of garlic. And this is how one of the most amazing dishes of my childhood was made. Garlicky nettles stew with polenta and sunny side up eggs, pure bliss!

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And guess what! Grandpa was right regarding the health-related properties of the nettle! The nettle plant is not only used to treat arthritis and relieve sore muscles through urtification, but some studies have shown that consuming nettle leaf can also be compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy. And not to mention that they are rich in iron which makes them a perfect remedy for anemia.

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What you will need for this nettles stew:

250 – 300 gr fresh nettles
10 – 13 cloves garlic 
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon wheat or rice flour – this is added in order to thicken the sauce, I personally prefer the dish with no flour as it’s not too watery or I add just 1/2 tbsp rice flour
a pair of gloves
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Clean the nettles thoroughly using a pair of gloves.
  2. Rinse them a few times with cold water.
  3. Blanch the nettles in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then place them under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain well. Save a cup of the water in which the nettles have cooked. Note: If you like the taste, you can keep the nettle water and drink it to enjoy the health benefits of this plant.
  4. Use a blender to puree the blanched nettles. (You could also chop them on a cutting board instead.)
  5. Crush and chop a few of the garlic cloves (3-4) and lightly fry them in the vegetable oil. Add the flour and mix well.
  6. Add the nettles to the pan and saute for about 5-10 minutes, adding a bit of the nettle water as needed. Once done, add the rest of the garlic cloves minced. The final result should be a very garlicky stew.

           Serve with polenta and fried/poached eggs.

nettle stew with fried egg

Quick salad with Chickpeas & Parsley

Chickpea salad

Dealing with chickpeas is never too complicated, most of the times quick and always, but always a delicious experience. You can never fail with chickpeas as they pair well with almost everything and they make a light and healthy salad (or side dish).I always have some extra chickpeas can somewhere stored at home and I resort to it whenever I crave for some healthy hearty salad I can prepare in 5 minutes. It’s either the Pho Bo bowl or the chickpea one 😀

Since root vegetables are now in the spotlight at the farmer’s market, I used carrots and celeriac. And I had bought some fresh organic delicious parsley and I used a lot of it.

Celeriac, carrot

You can serve this salad as it is, with flat bread or rye crackers. Or with a sunny side up egg and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Chickpea salad

Quick salad with Chickpeas & Parsley

400 g cooked chickpeas
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celeriac, cut in sticks
1 red hot chili pepper (optional)
1-2 bunches of parsley (I use 2)
olive oil
hot chili powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a bit of lemon juice

First add olive oil, pepper, chili powder, garlic and salt to the chickpeas, mix well. Then add carrot, celeriac parsley and some lemon juice.

Bon appetit,

Sara

Piata Obor – A Must Visit Market in Bucharest

If you are a dedicated foodie, looking for a place with various local, seasonal and out of season products and Romanian street food, in a very local atmosphere, then this should be your destination. Even if you just need to do the shopping, this is the place where you can find a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at very reasonable prices, meats, fish, cheeses, nuts and seeds, delicious bread.

Or like me, you feel nostalgic for your grandma’s garden which used Continue reading