Although I spent my childhood with my grandparents, in a village in the county of Vâlcea, and was lucky enough to grow up with home-cooked food, prepared with what was cultivated or grown around the house, I have to admit I cannot remember having eaten this pork greaves paste while I was a child. What I can remember is pork fat spread on a slice of bread, a delicacy I used to devour after having arrived home starving and freezing from sleighing. I have quite recently found this traditional recipe from Transylvania, which very ingeniously reinvents greaves. In the past, people would throw nothing, everything was reused. As in the case of many other traditional dishes, inherited from our grandparents, this traditional pork greaves paste recipe is surprisingly delicious.
It is a simple, easy to make starter (it takes no more than ten minutes), but you will be rewarded with a spicy and delicious taste. I would say this pork greaves paste is well above many patés and spreadable pastes found in shops. It is tastier, more natural, a true delicacy (even is very rich in calories). Of course, this recipe exists in many versions, with or without eggs, with or without garlic and so on. I have chosen my mother’s recipe (which she has recently found too), slightly improved to may taste (well, I am quite picky with food).
What you need is a meat grinder (manual or electric) or a blender. Tip: a meat grinder is much better, as the blender, as powerful as it may be, does not mince the greaves well enough.
200 grams of pork greaves
2 average red onions
3 average potatoes
juice of one lemon (to taste)
3 spoons of classic mustard
sweet paprika to taste
summer savory (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)
* The quantities are indicative only, you can change them to suit your preferences. I for example love a lot of onion, pepper and lemon.
Preparation of pork greaves paste
Boil the eggs and the potatoes. Chop the onion, the potatoes and the eggs in small pieces. Put the greaves and the onion into the blender/kitchen robot bowl and mix well. I prefer to put the onion and the greaves separately, as the onion juice helps finely mince the greaves, but of course you can put all the ingredients at the same time. As soon the greaves are minced, add the potatoes, the eggs, the mustard and the lemon juice. Mix until everything becomes homogeneous and turns into a paste. Season, tasting often, with sweet paprika and black pepper and mix well. Greaves are usually quite salty, so there is no need for salt. If you think there is need for more though, pour salt progressively to avoid the paste becoming too salty. In my opinion, it is difficult to make it too spicy, but the truth is I like it tasty. If you do not want too fine a paste, mix less, so that fine chops of greaves remain. Or you can keep 2-3 greaves aside, cut them with a knife and add them to the paste. It is as you like.
Spread the paste onto bread slices, decorate with a little sweet paprika (or even finely chopped onion slices) and then it is ready to serve.
If there is some greaves paste left, put it in a glass jar and close well. It will keep perfectly well in the fridge for one week. You can even freeze it. If you wish a base to prepare the greaves paste later, make it simple, only greaves passed through the grinder/blender. When it comes to make it, open the jar, prepare the other ingredients and mix. Thus, you can enjoy this delicious starter even in summer.
As far as I am concerned, the greaves paste never lasted more than three days! Is yours going to last longer? Enjoy!
Alina Margineanu – Balkazaar contributor