Croatian food is normally
simple peasant food, which is easy to prepare but delicious nonetheless.
People from the Croatian Adriatic eat food that is very similar
to Italian cuisine. As the authors come from Northern Croatia
(Koprivnica, north-east of Zagreb), where dishes are similar to
those of Central Europe (Austro-Hungarian), here are a few recipes
of meals typical of that region. Please note that some recipes
are simplified for quick cooking, and normally people in Croatia
would not think about using canned or pre-prepared items.
Quick Bean Stew (serves
- 2 cans of Cannellini
- 3-4 tablespoons
of corn oil
- 2 cups of fresh tomatoes, chopped
or a tin of canned tomatoes
- 5 shallots, sliced (or sliced onions)
- 2 cloves of garlic,
- Some parsley
- Half a kilo (1lb) of spicy sausage,
either smoked or cooked (chorizo or kabanos will do)
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the chopped vegetables
and sauté until tender. Take a pot, empty the beans together with
the vegetables into it, put the sausages inside and cook for a
further 20 minutes on a low heat. Or, put it in an oven and bake
it at a temperature of 180ºC/350ºF for 30 minutes. This dish is
even better reheated the next day.
Chop the onion and garlic, slice the mushrooms and
wash the buckwheat. Heat the oil and lightly sauté the onion.
Add the mushrooms and the garlic and continue to sauté. Add the
salt, vegetable seasoning, buckwheat and the bay leaf and cover
with water. Simmer gently and just before it is completely cooked,
add pepper, sour cream mixed with flour, the chopped parsley and
vinegar to taste.
Here is an Istrian version of the popular Italian peasant soup.
- 300g./12oz. smoked
spare rib of pork
- 100g./3.5oz. fresh beans
- 100g./3.5oz. fresh young sweetcorn
- 60g/2oz of pasta shells
- 2 medium sized tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons of vinegar
- salt to taste
Put beans and spare ribs in a pot with water. After
one hour and a half when the beans are almost ready, add the fresh
sweetcorn (tinned will do), the cubed and chopped tomatoes and
pepper, the bayleaf and the onions which were slowly browned in
oil. Mix everything together in the pot. Ten minutes before it
is served, add the pasta and finish cooking on a low heat.
Sausage and Potato
- 700g. (1.5 lb.)
potatoes or 4 large potatoes
- 250g. spicy sausage (preferably smoked)
- 50g. (2oz.) smoked bacon
- 50g. (2oz.) onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon vegetable seasoning
- Bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- Sweet red paprika
- 1 litre water
Peel and cube the potatoes, slice the bacon and
sausage and chop the onion, garlic and parsley. Heat a little
bit of vegetable oil and sauté the sliced bacon, onion and sausage.
Sprinkle with red paprika and add the potatoes, vegetable seasoning,
bay leaf and the salt and pepper. Dust with flour, stir well and
add a necessary amount of water. Boil gently until potatoes have
softened. Add chopped parsley and garlic and if desired, add 200ml.
(8 fl. oz.) of sour cream. Bring briefly to the boil and serve.
Fresh sardines or
anchovies This simple dish is very popular in Croatia and it is
eaten as a light lunch, usually with a piece of bread and a glass
of red wine.
- 500g/1lb of sardines
- frying oil
Wash the fish under the cold tap. Roll in the flour
and deep fry in oil until crispy. Lay on kitchen towel to get
rid of the excess oil and serve hot or cold with a slice of lemon.
Pork half shanks Podravina
- 2 pork shank halves
(1 kg./2 lb. each)
- 100 ml. (4 fl. oz. oil)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 100 ml. (4 fl. oz.) white wine
- 1 tablespoon vegetable seasoning
- salt and pepper
Wash and dry the shank halves and rub with a mixture
of salt and pepper and the vegetable seasoning. Sprinkle with
freshly ground pepper and set aside for at least an hour before
roasting. Chop the onion and garlic.
Arrange the meat in a roasting tin and smear with
hot oil. Put the meat in the oven, pre-heated to 200ºC (392ºF)
and cook for about 2-2.5 hours, depending on the size of the shanks.
Turn the meat from time to time, basting it in its own juices
and occasionally adding a little hot water so that the roast is
kept juicy. When the roast is half done, add onion and garlic
to the roasting tin. Just before it is cooked, pour the beef stock
over the meat. When cooked, place the shank halves on a warmed
platter. Stir the flour into the roast juices, boil briefly, add
the wine, boil again and the strain the juices and pour over the
Served with boiled potatoes, sauerkraut or sour
turnip and accompanied by a glass of good, red wine, this is a
dish to savour long after it has been eaten.
Meat pie - burek This dish, of Turkish origin, is very popular in Croatia
as a light meal which people buy to eat on the go. There is also
a cheese version.
- filo pastry
- 150g/5.5oz lean beaf
- 150g/5.5oz onion
- 40g/1.5oz oil
Fry the finely chopped onions and minced meat in
oil. Add the salt and pepper. Grease a round baking tray and put
a layer of pastry in it. Cover with a thin layer of filling and
cover this with another layer of filo pastry which must be well
coated in oil. Put another layer of filling and cover with pastry.
When you have five or six layers, cover with filo pastry, bake
at 200ºC/392ºF for half an hour and cut in quarters and serve.
Cod Dalmatian style (serves
- 400g/15oz cod
- 2 dl/0.4pt olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- parsley, pepper, salt
Soak the dried cod in warm water for an hour. Remove
from the water and beat the fish with a wooden mallet so it becomes
slightly tender. Put it back in the warm water again over night,
before beating it once more so it becomes more tender. Scrape
off the scales and rinse it under the tap. Cook until soft and
then cool it and taken any bones out and slice it. Season with
salt, pepper, chopped parsley and garlic and add some stock in
which the fish was cooked. Mix all the ingredients well together.
Serve either with polenta or boiled or mashed potatoes.
Nine-layer pie (known
as "Bregovska pita" or "gibanica devet vrsti"
in some regions)
- 300g. (11 oz.)
thin strudel pastry
- 300g. (11 oz.) sugar
- 150g. (5 oz.) shelled walnuts
- 150g. (5 oz.) raisins
- 150g. (5 oz.) poppy seeds
- 300g. (11 oz.)
- 200g. (7 oz.) butter
- 400 ml. (16 fl. oz.) sour cream
- 2 eggs
Prepare a baking tin (20 x 40 cm/8 x 16 inches).
Grind the walnuts and poppy seeds. Clean and wash the raisins
and put them in rum to soak. Melt the butter. Clean, wash, peel
and grate the apples. Beat the eggs.
Place two sheets of pastry into the buttered baking
tin, sprinkle with melted butter, with half the ground walnuts,
sugar and cinnamon and top a dollop of sour cream.
Second layer: a further two sheets of pastry, sprinkled
with melted butter, half the grated apples, sugar, cinnamon and
Third layer: pastry sheets, sprinkled butter, half
the raisins, sugar and sour cream.
Fourth layer: pastry sheets, sprinkled butter, half
the ground poppy seeds, sugar, cinnamon, sour cream. Repeat the
layer sequence until the final layer (the eighth), which contains
ground poppy seeds, and cover with two sheets of pastry. Next,
mix the beaten eggs with the remaining sour cream and pour this
mixture on top of the pastry. Pierce the pie in several places
with a fork and bake for about 50-60 minutes at 200ºC/392ºF.
Walnut Roll (Orehnjaca or
Orehova Potica in Slovenia)
- 450g/1lb white
- 55g/2oz castor sugar
- 2 packets easy blend yeast
- Half teaspoon salt
- 6 fl. oz. warm milk
- 2 size 2 eggs, beaten
- 30g/1 oz melted butter
- 140g/5 oz finely chopped (or ground)
- 85 g/3 oz unsalted soft butter
- 85 g/3oz Soft brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 55g/2 oz icing sugar
Mix all the ingredients for the dough together and
knead well. Cover the dough and put to rise until doubled in size,
which should take about 2 hours. Knock back the dough and knead
Divide the dough into two equal pieces; roll each
piece into an oblong about 12 inches by 8 inches. Mix the filling
ingredients together and divide between the dough, spreading over
each piece. Roll up the oblongs as tightly as possible to give
two 12 inch sausages. Place these side by side, touching each
other, on a greased baking sheet. Cover and leave to rise for
about 40 minutes. Heat oven to 200ºC (425ºF). Bake for 30-35 minutes
until well risen and golden brown. Bread should sound hollow when
the base is tapped.
Remove from oven and brush the hot bread top with
milk. Sift with a generous covering of icing sugar.
Set the oven to 190ºC/375ºF. Butter and flour a
9/10 inch spring clip cake tin. Separate the egg whites and yolks.
Whisk the yolks, adding the sugar and lemon juice, until it is
very thick and creamy. Whisk the whites until they are stiff and
fold them into the yolks, adding the grated chocolate, almonds
and breadcrumbs alternately. Fold in the grated rind last.
Bake for 50 or 60 minutes. When done, allow to cool
for a little while before removing the cake from the tin. Place
on a rack to allow it to cool completely.
Black cherry cake
- 140g/5oz chocolate
- 140g/5oz flour
- 140g/5oz butter
- 140g/5oz icing or caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- black cherries
- butter and flour for tin
Set the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Break the chocolate
up into little pieces and melt. Butter and flour a rectangular
cake tin. Cream the butter and the sugar until it is light and
fluffy. Separate the egg whites and yolks and beat the egg whites.
Beat the yolks into the butter mixture one at a time. Add the
melted chocolate once it has cooled slightly and fold in the flour
and the egg whites alternately. Spread the mixture into the cake
tin and stud the top with cherries, without pressing them down
as the will sink of their own accord. You can stone the cherries
or leave them whole, depending on what you wish. Bake for 40/45
minutes. Leave to cool in the tin and cut into slices when cold.
Please note that many Croatian people (actually,
the whole of Eastern Europe) use a food enhancer called
Vegeta (vegetable seasoning) to flavour their dishes.
This product is made in Croatia and is available in
Polish and German delicatessens in Europe and America, and increasingly even (in the case of the UK) in regular supermarkets!