Cookbook author Nicolae Klepper says that mititei were invented one evening at an inn called La Iordachi in Bucharest, known for its sausages, when the kitchen ran out of casings.
- 2 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed into a paste
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1⁄2 tsp. red pepper flakes, crumbled
- 1⁄2 tsp. hot or sweet paprika
- 1 tsp. caraway seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine beef, oil, garlic, baking soda, thyme, red pepper, paprika, caraway seeds, and 2 tbsp. water in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and knead for 5 minutes, wetting your hands frequently to help keep mixture moist. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.
With wet hands, roll meat, 1 tbsp. at a time, into small balls, then shape balls into sausages about 3'' long and 1'' thick. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Cook sausages in batches, turning frequently, until well browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve as an hors d'oeuvre or with potatoes as an entrée.