Transylvania is a region in the central part of Romania. On the east and south, it’s bounded by the Carpathian mountain range, and is known (besides being the home of military hero Vlad Tepes, the original Dracula) for its scenic beauty and rich history. Because Transylvania is abudnant in mineral resources, there are large iron and steel, chemical, and textile industries plus stock raising, agriculture, fruit, and wine production. (Having tasted Transylvanian wine, I can attest to its excellence. And no, I won't say: I neffer drink...vine. Oops, just did, didn't I? My bad.) This region has a population with a large Romanian majority, though there are also Hungarian, Roma, German, and Serb communities. The ethnic Hungarian population is largely composed of Székely (who figured prominently in the climax of Bram Stoker's novel), believed to be the descendants of Hungarians sent to defend the frontier during the early Middle Ages.

With such diverse cultures, Transylvania can also be expected to have something else to give to the world besides tales of vampires: its cuisine. Below is a favorite recipe of mine, gulyas (or as we of the Western World have fractured it, goulash). Try it, you’ll like it!

3 tbl vegetable oil
2 pounds cubed pork
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 C chopped onion
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1 minced garlic clove
2 Cs shredded fresh cabbage
2 tbl paprika
1 C kielbasa
1 container sour cream

Heat oil and bacon in Dutch oven until bacon is crisp. Saute onion and garlic in bacon and oil until soft. Remove from heat and stir in paprika. Add pork, coating with paprika. Return pan to heat and cook over low flame for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep paprika from burning. Mix in salt, pepper, caraway and about 2 cups of warm water. Cover, simmer @45 minutes. When meat is tender, stir in cabbage and kielbasa and cook until cabbage is tender. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream just before serving.

Makes 8-10 servings. Can also be prepared a day ahead of time, but don’t add sour cream until it is to be served.

Best eaten with thick slices of buttered rye bread and a yoghurt dessert.

And you thought this was going to be a blog about vampires!

Go ahead, admit it!


  1. Barbara Monajem // March 2, 2010 at 1:50 PM  

    Thanks for the recipe! I make a beef goulash that I just love, but it's much simpler - onions, beef, paprika, tomato juice, salt and pepper, IIRC. Yours is different and so of course I'm going to try it. :))

  2. Anonymous // March 2, 2010 at 4:16 PM  

    I am going to try this recipe!It sounds great. I'm sure my DH will love it and it will be perfet for the cold weather we are having.


  3. Toni V.S. // March 2, 2010 at 4:47 PM  

    Since I don't eat beef, I use pork kielbasa but it's a gret recipe for cold-weather.

  4. Rebecca Lynn // March 2, 2010 at 5:42 PM  

    This reminds me a lot of Coddle. I'll have to try it out! Never made goulash before. :-)

  5. Pamela Varnado // March 2, 2010 at 8:03 PM  

    Toni, I fell in love with the Carpathian mountain range while reading Christine Feehan's paranormal series. She painted it as lush and full of wildlife. A place where the soil is rich and full of nutrients. An unspoiled wildnerness with a mysterious allure that made me eager to visit.

  6. Beth Trissel // March 2, 2010 at 8:33 PM  

    Sounds delicious!

  7. Joanne // March 2, 2010 at 9:22 PM  

    My historical novels center on Romany heroes and heroines. Thanks for the post on Transylvania.

  8. Mary Marvella // March 2, 2010 at 9:32 PM  

    Yum! Toni that sounds tasty. I'll need to try that goulash!

  9. Joelle Charbonneau // March 2, 2010 at 10:51 PM  

    Looks yummy. Once I'm done with jury duty this week I may have to treat myself and make this.

  10. Mona Risk // March 2, 2010 at 11:26 PM  

    I admit I thought it was about vampires. The picture is gorgeous.

  11. Dayana // March 3, 2010 at 11:24 PM  

    All points well said and very true. I spent a good year researching Romania, its people, geographic statistics, and Vlad the Impaler, btw, who was well-loved by his people. His only wish was to protect Romania from outside intrusion though I must say he had a grusome way of showing it.

    I am going to try that recipe this weekend, Toni! Does it sound delish:) I have a Romanian cook book as well I downloaded when I was researching for my RomaWolf Tales series.

    Thank you for such a tasty post.