Tochitura – a traditional Romanian sausage stew with pork, cheese, and eggs and served with polenta.
Although this sausage stew served with eggs, cheese and polenta is a traditional Romanian recipe, which has different versions in different parts of the country, I must admit that this was the first time I have ever had it.
I did hear about it before and I have always found the name Tochitura very strange, it was a weird word, which didn't tell me much about the dish itself, I always imagined this to be made with ground meat...
But it isn't!
No ground meat in this recipe, only cubed pork and chopped pork sausages in a tomato sauce, everything topped with a fried egg and plenty of cheese.
Eating it will give you the feeling of being a Romanian peasant about 100 years ago having dinner after a long day of hay-making. 🙂
- Pork: I used pork neck, but other cuts of pork should be fine as well. Don't choose something very lean; fattier parts are better.
- Sausages: Tochitura is usually made with traditional Romanian sausages. Use coarsely ground sausages, preferably smoked.
- Fat: Traditionally, you would always use lard to make this Romanian sausage stew or tochitura. If you don't want to buy lard just to make one dish, use vegetable oil (like sunflower) instead. No olive oil; it just doesn't fit when cooking traditional Romanian food.
- Traditionally, branza de burduf is a sharp and delicious cheese made of sheep's milk. As you will hardly find that outside Romania, feta cheese (preferably sheep) would make a good substitute.
What to serve with it?
This dish has to be served with polenta; nothing else would do, in my opinion. Here is How to Cook Basic Polenta – Mamaliga.
Ideally, you would top this dish with Romanian sheep's cheese – branza de burduf. However, you will not find that cheese outside Romania unless you make it yourself, I suppose, so feta cheese is a good substitute.
And don't forget gogonele – pickled tomatoes or other kinds of pickled vegetables if green tomato pickles are not available.
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Romanian Sausage Stew - Tochitura
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs pork neck
- 1 tablespoon lard or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion
- 4 small coarsely-ground smoked sausages
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 240 ml/ 8.1 fl.oz/ 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 eggs
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- about 100 g/ 3.5 oz feta cheese sheep's cheese is better
- some parsley
- polenta and pickled vegetables to serve
- Chop the meat into rather small cubes. Pat them dry with some kitchen paper.
- Melt the lard or heat the oil in a cast iron pan. Fry the meat cubes until nicely browned all over. Do this in two batches if your pan is not large enough, the pan should not be overcrowded.
- Return all the meat cubes to the pan and add the finely chopped onion and about ½ teaspoon salt.
- Add ¼ cup water, cover and cook gently for about 20 minutes or until the meat is quite tender. Add a splash of water or so if necessary, if you notice that the dish becomes too dry.
- Start cooking the polenta.
- Cut the sausages into slices, about 1 cm/ 0.4 inch thick. Chop the garlic finely.
- Add the sausages, garlic, tomato paste and bay leaves to the pan.
- Pour the white wine, cover again and continue cooking for 10 minutes or so until the meat is very tender and the sausages are cooked through.
- Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- In the meantime heat the vegetable oil and fry the eggs in a large pan.
- Divide the stew between four serving dishes, give a fried egg on top of each dish and crumble some of the feta on top of each plate.
- Sprinkle some parsley over the dish and serve hot with polenta and pickled vegetables.