I actually made this recipe the day we got back from Romania, but was too tired/zonked to post it.
As an update on my earlier post, I finally figured out what the mystery spice is! In Romanian it's called "cimbra" and in English it's Summer Savory (I had guessed from it's thyme-y smell it might be summer or winter savory, but wasn't completely sure) Now my task will be to find it here in the Czech Republic once the supply that my boyfriend's grandmother gave me runs out. After researching, it appears the Czech name for it is "Saturejka" so I will just have to hit up all the spice stores I know of and see what they can do for me. At least it has a Czech name!
So (again terrible with taking pictures!) I made this the night we came back. I was tired and didn't want to cook much, and my boyfriend's grandmother had sent us home with peppers, tomatoes, and leftover cooked chicken. I had some potatoes and cheese languishing in the house that demanded to be used promptly, so I created the following dish. Also, after having been fed non-stop for 4 days, I tried to lighten it up a bit (you'll notice there is no cream or milk in the mashed potatoes)
Chicken, Tomato, and Pepper Ragu with Cheese mashed potatoes
5 medium potatoes
1/4 c (60 g) firmly packed grated soft cheese (I used "excellent" syr, which is akin to a mild cheddar or gouda)
1 tbs butter
Potato cooking water
2 small cloves garlic
salt and pepper
3 cooked thigh and/or breast pieces of chicken, shredded
2 medium tomatoes diced
1 small pepper (I used one of those white ones I've blogged about earlier)
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves minced finely
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup (250 g) water or broth
2 heaping tablespoons poultry seasoning (I used "grill" seasoning)
1 tsp marjoram
1 level tablespoon podravka (use salt if you don't have it)
2 tbs flour dissolved in some hot water
Scrub potatoes well and cook in boiling water until soft
While potatoes cook, shred chicken, chop vegetables
saute onion, garlic, and pepper in a bit of oil in a non stick pan
add seasoning and marjoram and stir for a bit til fragrant
add remaining ingredients.
Give a stir, and simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occaisionally.
While ragu is simmering, peel potatoes, add cheese, garlic, butter, several ladles of the potato water, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher or whip with a handheld whipper.
It's best to do the potatoes while they're still warm and right before you serve the ragu. Once the potatoes start to cool, the cheese may get a bit gummy. You can fix this by popping it in the microwave on low-medium heat for about a minute and then stirring again.
Ladle ragu next to or on the mashed potatoes.