Jules Verne, Transylvania and the turkey, pea stew
Dark, bloody and misty appears to be Transylvania in many people’s minds around the world. While others think this place does not even exist. For them, Transylvania is a legend.
Like you, my dear reader, and me, Transylvania is a real place, with real people. And yes, with wolves and bears in its woods. And mountains, wild pastures, meadows and castles… Some of them in ruins with strange and somehow scary stories hidden behind their walls. But I guess is normal to be this way when we are talking about such an old place on earth, coming back from the ancient times of Dacia and Dacians, with such a violent history.
There are many dark stories linked to the places and villages of Transylvania, but not all of them are ”bad” ones, the intriguing personality of Jules Verne being one of them. Believe it or not, but it seems that in one of his books – The Castle of the Carpathians – first published in 1893, the visionary author drew his inspiration from a real Transylvanian castle, Colț Citadel you can still see in Hunedoara County.
The castle was built in the early XIV th century by the local ruler Cândea. His name didn’t remain the same, as later, when he switched to Catholicism became Kendeffy. In our days the castle is in a state of increased degradation, which, I think, makes it even more romantic, dramatic and appealing.
It seems that Jules Verne either traveled these lands to find for himself the stories about vampires (”strigoi” in Romanian), ghosts and mysterious castles, either was introduced into the mythology and legends of Transylvania by a young woman he was in love with.
Nobody knows for sure the truth about all these . Most of them might be just stories, but well known is the fact that The Castle of the Carpathians is as real as possible and it survived the cruel time passing, stubbornly stuck on its stone feet, up there, on the green hill of the Hunedoara county, surrounded by rockery and vipers.
If you are a traveler in search for mysterious places and beautiful legends and you let yourself get caught into the charm of Transylvania, go and see Colț Castle while is still there. You’ll know, then, what Jules Verne was talking about. And if you feel hungry, try some local food.
- * 2 carrots
- * 1 medium onion
- * 150 grams of turkey breast (skinless, boneless)
- * 2 big cups of frozen pea
- * 4 garlic cloves
- * 1 tbs of tomato paste
- * 1 tbs of dried dill
- * salt and pepper
- * 1 tbs of corn starch
- * 1 tbs of olive oil
- 1. Cut the turkey meat into small stripes or cubes, put salt, pepper and corn starch on it. Let it rest for 5 minutes in the fridge
- 2. While the meat is resting, chop the onion and garlic and cut the carrot into stripes
- 3. Put the olive oil in a deep pan or in a stew pot, let it heat, then add the garlic and the onion. Sautee them for about 2 minutes, then add the carrots. Let them all soften for another 2 minutes on middle heat.
- 4. Take the meat out of the fridge then add it into the pot. Drop over some water until all the ingredients are covered
- 5. Let them simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the tomato paste and the frozen pea. Pour water until covered.
- 6. Let everything simmer on medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the sauce gets thickened and is reduced.
- 7. Put the dill, salt and pepper to taste
- 8. Serve the stew with bread submerged into salted beaten egg, then fried in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- * you can use, instead of turkey, sausages, chicken or pork meat
- * you can also transform this stew into a vegetarian one, by taking the meat out of the formula, but cook it the same 🙂
And if you don’t have time now to go and walk the wild lands, you can travel Transylvania, while staying home, through this hearty and tasty pea and chicken stew, one of the favorite among Transylvanians.