Croatian cuisine is influenced by its location along the Adriatic Sea, as well as by its neighbouring countries, including Italy, Austria, and Hungary. It is known for its fresh ingredients, Mediterranean flavours, and hearty dishes. Popular ingredients in Croatian cuisine include seafood, lamb, pork, veal, potatoes, and vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers. Some classic dishes include ćevapi (grilled meat sausages), pasticada (a beef stew), sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls), and fritule (a type of sweet fritter).
Here is a classic recipe for one of the most popular Croatian dishes, čobanac:
- 2 pounds of mixed meats (lamb, beef, and pork), cut into small cubes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 2 cups of beef stock
- 1/2 cup of red wine
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the mixed meats to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides.
- Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
- In the same pot, add the onion, garlic, and bell peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
- Add the tomato paste, paprika, thyme, rosemary, and cayenne pepper to the pot. Stir well.
- Return the meat to the pot and add the beef stock and red wine. Stir well.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Once the čobanac is cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot with crusty bread or over a bed of mashed potatoes.
Enjoy this hearty and flavorful Croatian dish, perfect for a cozy dinner at home!