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Friday, 18 September 2015

Croatian Beef & Pork Stew Recipe - "Paprikaš"






This one is a humanitarian post, believe it or not. Why humanitarian you may ponder? That's a good question. Well you see, I was just doing some channel surfing earlier and came across that program again called "Carnival Eats" on the Food Network. I watched it for about 25 minutes and was basically grossed out. I then changed the channel and there was another similar show going on, (there's actually a few of these "carnival eats" themed programs for some reason, you can hit the link to see what I mean, but at your own peril, you've been warned) And then I suddenly felt dizzy, nauseous and repulsed. For a moment there I didn't know what was going on, where was I? Was it a terrible joke? Do these foods and some of the people really exist? I didn't know what was more disturbing, the dishes being presented on paper plates and containers and in waxed paper or the almost orgasmic delight and moaning of the people after gorging huge mouthfuls of the "carnival eats", taking another huge syrupy or greasy mouthful before even finishing the first one, like they hadn't eaten in a week. I had to immediately drop what I was doing and quickly do this post, first Croatian food story, recipe or article that I came across, anything recipe related at all. I felt like something terribly wrong was going on that was destroying the very fibre of civilization and society. How so?

Because every food and dish concoction that was being presented mostly consisted of 1) lard, 2) sugar and 3) different kinds of syrups, sugars and lards, and a couple had chocolate dipped bacon included as an extra ingredient. (One was sort of like deep fried sugar with sugared bacon and lard syrup on it) I've come across carnival foods a number of times before and some of it I don't mind, the usual cotton candy, something on a bun, popcorn, candy apple etc, why even once when I was at the Calgary Stampede I came across things like donut burgers, cricket pizza slices and buckets o' bacon was very popular, and some other weird food stuff, (among other terrible sights I won't even attempt to mention and instead try to forget, some inebriated mouth full of everything specimens even spilled some of their "carnival eats" on my jeans and it almost turned into a fracas or melee, they were lucky), but still I had to post something immediately. I decided right then and there it was time for another Croatian recipe post to save peoples food souls, to combat the diabolical "carnival eats" on television with some Croatian food, to set things right again in the universe.

This recipe is super simple, and it's one of the things I grew up on as a kid. Very simple and made with readily available ingredients and easy preparation. It was a common meal to prepare especially in the countryside and rural areas for centuries, and still is. It was one of the staple meals for frontline Croatian soldiers back during the Ottoman jihads into Europe, the advancing Muslim jihadists and their Serb irregular allies usually would have had to contend with Croatian soldiers who would have been eating paprikaš regularly. With enough large iron kettles the cooks could easily feed hundreds in a short time.

It's also especially perfect for cold winter days and nights, but you can have it anytime though. You can also change it up, I always put some extra hot sauce or tobacco sauce in mine, you can add more meat or vegetables or less. Growing up mine had some wine in it for extra flavour and pieces of slanina/špek, which is smoked, salted and cured ham/bacon. (You gotta add some slanina/špek after all) Because the Croatian kingdom and lands were are a part of the Austo-Hungarian empire for centuries, there are probably similar dishes made in other central and eastern Europe countries, especially Poland, Hungary, Czech and Slovak dishes. This Croatian beef and pork stew is usually called Hrvatski govedina/beef paprikaš, (pronounced "pop-pree-kosh" in Croatian) or papazjanija, mješavina or gulaš, which is pronounced just like goulash. Any stew with meat, peppers and/or paprika in it can be called paprikaš. Also, this particular recipe for beef and pork paprikaš is not set in stone, as in you can change it up, make it all beef or less pork, add more wine or no wine, more paprika, peppers and spices or less. You can have it as shown here or even over noodles or pasta or žganci/polenta, and it goes great with wine or beer afterwards of course. Depending on what region of Croatia you're in they will add their own little twist to the dish.

That's about it. it's a hardy and simple tasty traditional Croatian dish. At the end of the day, this is basically my humanitarian recipe post to spread the good news and help save civilization. Enjoy and dobar tek.


Here's just a few other links to get you started if you're interested in trying out some other Croatian recipes and dishes:

mojzagreb.info/recepti

www.gastro.hr

moja-kuhinja.com.hr

www.recepti.hr

www.zdrava-kuhinja.net

www.24sata.hr/kuhanje

www.coolinarika.com





Image/recipe source: www.likecroatia.com





Ingredients:

2 spoons of sunflower oil
3-4 cloves of garlic
500 grams of beef, cubed
500 grams of pork, cubed
6 ounce tomato paste
Cayenne pepper, pepper, salt
1 teaspoon of ground red pepper
2-3 onions, finely chopped
6 medium-sized potatoes, chopped
1 cup of celery
1/4 cup red or white wine, optional
1 cup of finely chopped carrots
28 ounce can diced tomato
2 spoons of flour
3 cups of water
2-3 Bay leaf


Instructions:

Heat the sunflower oil in a large pot and add finely chopped onions. After a few minutes, add garlic. Cut the meat into cubes and when the onions turn golden, add the meat to the pot. Turn up the heat a bit and mix until the meat gets some color on all sides.

Add can of diced tomato, tomato paste and water so that it covers the meat. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, and red pepper.

Turn down the stove, cover the pot, and let it simmer. Mix every now and then. After 50 minutes, check to see if the meat has softened. If it has, add the potatoes and celery and carrots. Again turn down the stove and cover the pot. When the potatoes get soft, add a mixture of 3 spoons of flower and warm water.

Mix while adding to the stew. While doing that you can take the pot off the heat entirely so that the flower doesn’t get clumpy. Once you’ve done that, put it back on the stove at a light temperature, mix well, cover, and cook for a few more minutes. When the potato is entirely cooked, remove from heat and serve.




Related previous posts: croatian-stuffed-peppers-punjene-paprike

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