Virsli (virşli)- a Romanian pride



Brad or Salasu virşli, Vata cheese, sausages and salami of Paring (the Jiu Valley) are some of the traditional food products from the west of Romania. They are a Romanian pride and belong to Hunedoara county.There are just few producers (4 or 5) accredited to make these products(accredited by consumers, of course) and their recipes are always very old. Always, these products are ...a family business.
I'm a completely fan of that kind of thin sausages called virşli. 
Tasty, spicy, aromatic, soft but strong enough to make your taste buds say: "I want more" . But, your brain will not be capable to say...NO !

The manufacturing process for virşli requires time because everything is done manually.
You need mutton and goat meat; peel the fat, then salt meat and placed it in wooden containers for several hours.
Chop meat twice by passing it through a sieve with different sizes and let it stay in a cold place for a day or two (some producers say that four days would be ideal). 
After this, knead well the meat(for almost an hour). Add spices in the same time: garlic, salt, pepper, paprika (optional) all to taste, until all will be a smooth paste. 
Add some water, as much as it's enough to make a homogeneous mixture with a fine texture.With this paste  you must fill guts of sheep,well cleaned, washed and kept in salt.The filled guts are twisted, giving them after hand and forming pairs.
Virsli pairs are hanged on wooden sticks and smoked (for 2-3 hours) with a cold beech sawdust smoke (hituiala*). Scald them in boiling water and, after that, soak them for few minutes in cold water.
Now, they are ready for sale(they are not sold by weight, but the pair; a pair can cost about a dollar).
At home they are consumed after a preliminary scalding (not boiling) in water, with mustard or paprika or grated horseradish.


Romanian version:
Virşli de Brad sau cei de Salasu, cascavalul de Vata, cirnatii si salamul de Paring (din Valea Jiului) sunt produse culinare traditionale din vestul Romaniei.Ele sunt o mindrie romaneasca si apartin judetului Hunedoara. Exista doar citiva producatori acreditati sa faca asta. Acreditati de consumatori, bineinteles. Retetele sunt foarte vechi, ele raminind in familie, devenind mai apoi o afacere de familie. 
Sunt fan absolut al virslilor. Gustosi, savurosi, moi dar tari destul pentru a face papilele tale gustative sa spuna: "Mai vreau" iar creierul tau sa nu poata zice "NU".

Intreg procesul de fabricare al virslilor cere timp pentru ca este in intregime manual.
Carne de oaie si capra (sau de ied care e mai gustos ca mielul), se curata de seu , se 
sareaza si se aseaza in recipienti de lemn, timp de cateva ore.
Apoi carnea se toaca de doua ori trecind-o prin ciur cu diferite calibre si se da la rece o zi-doua (unii impatimiti zic ca patru zile ar fi ideal).
Dupa accea se framanta bine aproape o ora adaugandu-se si condimentele: usturoi, sare, ardei iute , boia (facultativ) si piper, toate dupa gust, pana se obtine o pasta omogena.Se adauga si apa , treptat atit cit sa rezulte un amestec omogen si fin. Cu pasta respectiva se umple matele de oaie ( musai de oaie sa fie!) bine curatate , spalate si tinute in sare.Se rasucesc matele umplute (dindu-le pe dupa mina) si formind perechi de dimensiuni oarecum identice.
Perechile de virsli se agata pe bite si se dau , pentru doua ore, la fum de rumegus de fag. Se oparesc  apoi in apa clocotind si se scufunda in apa rece. 
Acum sunt gata pentru vinzare.Nu se vind la kilogram ci la pereche( o pereche ajunge undeva la 2-3 Ron perechea).
Acasa se consuma dupa o prealabila oparire, NU fierbere.


Legend:
* a hitui = a specific regionalism of the western area of Romania
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