Romanian Vegetable Spread-Zacusca
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Romanian vegetable spread-Zacusca, is a combination of roasted eggplant, roasted peppers, tomatoes and onions, all slowly cooked together to perfection. I used 20 jars of 16 oz inch(1 pint) sterilized.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Romanian
Serves: 20 jars
Ingredients
  • 6.6 pounds/3 kg eggplants
  • 3.3 pounds/1.5kg red bell peppers or pimientos
  • 1 pound/0.5kg onions(could be white, sweet, or red onion)
  • 17 fl.oz/0.5l vegetable oil(I used sunflower oil)
  • 33.8fl.oz/1 liter tomato sauce
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground pepper
  • 3-4 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Clean the eggplants and the peppers.
  2. Grill all the eggplants and peppers until they are charred. Peel the skin from both eggplants and peppers and also remove the seeds from the peppers.
  3. Note: If you choose to roast the eggplants in the oven, place them on a tray, pierce them with a fork and roast them at 400F/200C for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and peel the skin off.
  4. Let the eggplants drain in a colander until no juices come out, at least one to two hours.
  5. Chop the eggplants and the peppers using a knife or a food processor, whatever you have available. Do not make a paste, pulse just few times to chop the soft vegetables. If you use a knife, chop everything fine. Set aside.
  6. Chop the onions.
  7. Place a very large pan on the stove and pour the oil in it. Heat up the oil on medium heat and add the chopped onions. Cook them until soft, but make sure to stir in them so they do not burn.
  8. Add chopped eggplants, peppers and tomato sauce. Add three tablespoons of salt and the pepper and mix well. Add the bay leaves. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  9. Note: The heat should be moderate to low and the pan should be supervised at all times. When the vegetable spread starts simmering, lower the heat and continue stirring occasionally to make sure the spread does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Simmer for about an hour on the stove.
  10. Preheat oven to 350F and move the pan inside the oven for another two hours.
  11. The spread will be ready in about 3 hours total or when the vegetable oil comes to the surface of the spread.
  12. How to sterilize the jars and finish the canning: Boil the empty jars in hot water for about 10 minutes. Fill the jars carefully with the hot spread so that there is about an inch left from the top. Seal the jars really well and flip them upside down. Place all of them on a metallic tray and cover the jars with blankets to cool down slowly.
  13. The next day, preheat oven to 215F and place the tray with the jars inside. Shut down the oven and let the jars inside to cool down completely.
  14. Another method would be to sterilize the jars in a water bath for 40 minutes.
Recipe by The Bossy Kitchen at https://www.thebossykitchen.com/romanian-vegetable-spread-zacusca/