Drob de miel is a kind of terrine made of lamb’s organs and is usually eaten only at Easter time. Along with cozonac, it is possibly the dish most commonly associated with the Romanian Easter celebrations. In many ways it is similar to the Scottish haggis, but without the addition of any cereals. I read through quite a few recipes online and in books and it seems there are many different ways to prepare drob and the ingredients can vary considerably. I’ve chosen to use lamb’s organs (heat, lungs, liver, kidneys) because I am fortunate enough to live not so far from a large meat market (Obor, for those that know Bucharest) and so it was relatively easy for me to pick up a lamb’s pluck and lights (this set of organs still connected together) as well as a lamb’s caul for the lining. Many people here don’t really like lamb, however, and it’s quite common to see it made with chicken livers, which can be found in any supermarket in Romania and are quite popular.
As the organs were all connected I started by separating them and trimming off all the connective tissue and fat. I then cut the sinew out of the kidneys and livers, trimmed the flaps and tubes off the heart and rinsed out the blood, and also flushed out the lungs. I left the heart in cold water for about 20 minutes whilst preparing the rest of the meat. Finally, once it was all thoroughly clean and well trimmed, I chopped it into small pieces (chunks of about 3-4cm square) and soaked the whole lot in vinegar and water (1 part vinegar for 3 parts water) for about 20 minutes to eradicate any grotty odours. I ended up with about 1.2kg of good offal from the original 1.8kg bag. That should be enough to make one large loaf-sized drob. You will probably be able to get pre-trimmed and cleaned organs if you go to your local butcher or supermarket, which will save you the trouble (especially if you’re a bit squeamish).
The recipes I researched before making mine all seemed to include a sautéed onion, and for the rest of the ‘green stuff’ they used spring onion, young garlic, lovage (lustean), parsley, dill, and basically ‘whatever you like and whatever you have’. I had spotted some wild garlic (leurda) whilst at the market so I thought that would make a nice addition as leurda is very much a spring leaf.
The method of cooking also varies from recipe to recipe. Some people finely chop the organs and then fry them. Some boil the organs and then mince them up. Others just chop up the organs and don’t cook them at all (until the assembled drob goes in the oven). I chose to boil them because…well, no particular reason, it just seemed the easiest way and I thought it might retain more moisture: although I’ve never made drob before, I’ve eaten it many times and often it’s been a little dry.
Timing: 2 hours
Servings: 10-15 slices
About 1kg of trimmed lamb’s organs (heart, lungs, liver, kidneys)
1 lamb’s caul (optional – see notes in method)
2 medium onions
4-5 spring onions
1-2 green garlic stems
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of lovage
A handful of wild garlic leaves
A couple of slices of white bread, crusts removed
Large knob of butter or lard for greasing the pan
Salt and pepper
1. Trim and wash the organs and cut them into large chunks, about 3-4cm square. Soak them in just enough water to cover them to which you’ve added a good few glugs of vinegar (about 25% of the total volume of liquid, but you don’t need to be too accurate). After soaking them (about a quarter of an hour), drain them well and put into a pan and cover with cold water.
2. If you are using a lamb’s caul, you should soak it in cold water for about an hour, changing the water once or twice.
3. Bring the water with the organs in it to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until the chunks of organs have turned brown. At the start of the boil it’ll make a disgusting brown scum on the top so skim this off and discard.
4. Once the organ chunks are done, pour into a colander and leave to drain and cool for 10 minutes or so.
5. While the organs are cooling, sauté the finely chopped onions (the regular ones, not the spring onions) and then start chopping up all the greenery. You can use whatever herbs you like, but I recommend uses spring onions (it’s a springtime dish after all) and whatever herbs you like (parsley, lovage, dill, wild garlic, etc.)
6. Beat the four eggs together and put to one side.
7. By now the organs should be cool enough to handle so you can chop them up. You can either chop them up by hand using a knife to get a thick-cut texture, whiz them quickly in the mixer to get more of a pate-style drob, or run them through the wide-gauge mincer to get something in the middle (which is what I did).
8. However you chop your organs, put the resulting mixture into a large bowl and add the bread (softened in milk and crumbled in), the sautéed onion, the spring onion, whatever herbs you are using, and salt and pepper. Mix these thoroughly and then mix in the beaten eggs to get a moist, but not runny, mixture.
9. Now it’s time to prepare the tin. I used a loaf tin, which is about the right size and shape. Drob is usually served in slices and so this is the best kind of tin to use. However, you can use something else instead, like a round one, if you don’t have a loaf tin. The only thing is that you might not want the drob too thin or it’ll dry out quickly when baking.
10. Grease all the sides of the tin thoroughly with the lard or butter. If you are using a lamb’s caul, lay it in the tin, with enough hanging over the sides so that you can fold it over the top once the tin is filled. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a lamb’s caul, you can just butter the sides of the tin and sprinkle it with breadcrumbs. You can even use some pastry to line the tin to make another common version of drob called ‘drob in aluat’ (aluat means pastry).
11. Now fill the tin with the organ mixture* and firm it down reasonably well. Lay the remaining caul on top (or put on the pastry lid if using pastry, or just butter it and sprinkle on more breadcrumbs) and smear on a little more butter or lard (or brush with egg, if you’ve used pastry).
12 The drob is now ready to cook and can be put into a pre-heated oven at a moderate temperature (about 190-200C) for about 30-40 minutes or until it looks well cooked.
*At this point you can, if you like, half fill the tin and then lay a row of boiled eggs along the middle, and then put the rest of the mixture on top. I’ve seen a lot of people do this and the slices of drob look very nice with a egg in the middle.
I actually made two portions of drob. One larger one in the loaf tin which I then put in the freezer. I’ll defrost it overnight on Saturday and bake it Sunday morning for Easter day itself. I’ll let you know if this works out ok and if freezing it affects the taste. I don’t see why it should.
The remaining drob mixture I put into a small terrine dish and baked immediately so I could test it out (this is why the slices in the picture look rather small). Although I don’t like to blow my own trumpet (I don’t even consider myself a trumpet owner) it was really very good! Much better than any of the shop-bought drobs I’ve tried (of course) and even, dare I say it, a bit better than some of the home made ones I’ve had. It was very moist and succulent and had a good offal taste, without being overpowering or too bitter, as offal sometimes can be.