Transvlanvia Stew

I was going to post a Bread Baker Apprentice’s bread that we did however, I have to respond to this statement from Heather’s previous post:

“no one wants to bring brisket to a cookie exchange”

I present to the jury evidence marked exhibit seven, a backyard BBQ.  Which is going to get more love and draw more ooh and ahhs an oven filled with cookies or a brisket on a smoker that has the sweet mesquite smoke bellowing out of it?

The item in bag labeled four is corned beef and cabbage.  On St. Pattys Day would you rather have a green cookie or this?

In her defense she did say cookie exchange but would anyone really object if I showed up with a pan full of slow smoked brisket instead of some type of cookie?  Bueller??? Bueller??  Exactly.  I rest my case…..

Of course I am biased since I have yet to figure out how to grill or braise cookies.

I am sorry for those who wanted another BBA post (yes we are pretty much close to caught up).  However, I must continue to defend brisket from the evil cookie monster in the form of a joyous Romanian dish, tochitur ardeleneasc aka Transvlanvia Stew.  Besides the weird name in true Romanian fashion it is poor people food and whatever the freak you have laying around the house goes into the pot.  It also makes enough to feed a small army…………..

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 head of cabbage (couple pounds) sliced thinly
  • Couple pounds of brisket
  • Couple pounds of pork (I used a smoked ham hock however, ribs, shoulder, or any good fatty cheap cut of pork will work wonderfully).
  • Couple springs of savory
  • Tablespoon of fresh dill
  • 1 onion sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely diced
  • Couple bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream
  • Bacon grease (if you lack bacon grease shame on you for one but grab the canola or butter)
  • Water

Step to success:

  • Place the brisket and pork in a large stock pot and pour enough water over the meat to cover by an inch or so.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the meat is close to finish (about a hour and a half).  I cheated and used the crock pot on low for four hours.
  • Remove the meat and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • Strain the meat water and set aside.
  • In a large stock pot over medium-high melt the bacon grease (or *sigh* oil) and add the onions.
  • Cook the onions until softened (about 5 minutes) and add in the garlic, tomato paste, and paprika and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the cabbage, diced meat, meat water, savory, and bay leaves.  Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the cabbage is softened (about 30 minutes).
  • Stir in the sour cream and dill.

Serve and enjoy!

Transvlanvia Stew

Cooked up by Jeff


  1. 21
    August 27

    It’s “Tocitura Ardeleneasca”. You were close. :-)


  2. 20
    August 27

    I so see Dracula lurking around that fabulous dish! Lol… Great one!!!

    your fellow Romanian from


  3. 19
    December 14

    Your new site is great! The idea is nice…now you both can cook together. :) It is true that a cookie exchange needs some sort of savory addition. Brisket works!

  4. 18
    December 14

    OK, I know you saw the post, cause you sent a comment (thanks for visiting!)

    At my cookie/beer exchange, I brought beer braised cherry/chipotle sausages, and another fellow brought chicken wings.

    we had fun at our neighborhood cookie exchange

  5. 17
    December 9

    How many people do you think believe you when you start with “I was going to post a BBA’s bread”? I think that you may have forgotten what a biga is…

  6. 16
    December 8

    I love brisket, and so many people are intimidated by it!

    But truth be told, I really only make it a couple times of year.

    Ah. Good old bacon grease. That is one of my fondest memories as a child being at my grandma’s house, and she would cook up scrambled eggs in bacon grease – there was always a tin on her stove!

    Best damn eggs I’ve ever had!

    • 16.1
      jackie hines
      March 11

      Ditto! I remember that same can that sat on our stove forever. Let’s take a moment and give praise to the pork…..more specifically….the BACON! Yummmmmmmmm……

  7. 15
    December 8

    Brisket is a seriously awesome thing. That would be welcome at any cookie exchange that I hosted. As, you know, a side dish. Or a palate cleanser after all of the sweet cookie tasting. This looks absolutely delicious.

  8. 14
    December 7

    grilled cookies? if you figure that one out, you’ll be my hero and a bonafide backyard god.
    in the meantime, i’m crazy about this dish–it’s warm and hearty, nutritious and delicious. i had no idea romanians ate so well.

  9. 13
    December 7

    oh my, this looks amazing! definitely perfect for this stupid winter weather.

    would adding fried bacon bits into this be *highly* recommended??

  10. 12
    December 7

    You crack me up. I’d take a bowl of this stew AND some cookies at the exchange.

  11. 11
    December 7

    I don’t think I’d turn this away if it showed up at our cookie exchange. In fact, I can almost guarantee I wouldn’t. Looks delish!

  12. 10
    December 7

    MMMMMMMMMM,….a lovely dish! very tasty!

  13. 9
    December 6

    I think you met your match Jeff…you both have the same humor in your writing! Anyway…soup looks great! Always looking for new ways to use cabbage. And I love the addition of baked goods to the site ;)!

  14. 8
    December 6

    This time of year I know I should be eating brisket instead of all those calorie ridden goodies…I know it’s a toss up.

  15. 7
    December 6

    Dude go back to the man blog. This lovey dovey shit is making me barf. :barf:

  16. 6
    December 6

    god that looks good.

    who’s taking pictures? i have to say your pics have improved 11tybillionfold since going to this blog

  17. 5
    December 6

    Yum that sounds delish! But I do have to say at a cookie exchange I want cookies.

  18. 4
    December 5

    I will so fry bacon for this recipe.

  19. 3
    December 5

    Jeff, while this looks f’n amazing–let’s face it…it’s no bacon chocolate chip cookie.


  20. 2
    December 5

    Where the hell was this in the Romania episode of No Reservations?!

    You bring up an interesting point about grilling cookies…Maybe you can do a bacon or a variation of the Chinese pork bun on indirect heat. Gonna have to mess around with it when spring rolls around.

    PS. (completely agree, brisket > cookies)

  21. 1
    December 5

    This looks and sounds amazing. We visited family in Romania last year are were constantly fed hearty, delicious authentic Romania cuisine. Lots of garlic and dill and did I mention garlic. And I have to say, the garlic we are used to here in North America is much tamer than the garlic we were offered there. Might have something to do with the “vampires”!
    I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks.