Now that we're settled in Boston, I find I'm spending more time in the kitchen than I ever did in Chicago. I enjoy it, I not only find it a great way to relax, but, it also gives me a chance to cook the foods I grew up with. I think being back in Croatia for as long as I was while my father was ill, and reconnecting with the importance of those family mealtimes made me realize that I wanted to share that with Abby and Joe once I was home.

I look at the comfort I find in the foods I grew up with, the thick soups and stews with their fresh baked croutons, the goulash and seafood, and yes, even the pastries, and I want that for my son. In fact, I'm cooking today, and as the smell of the simmering broth fills the whole house, all I have to do is close my eyes to find myself transported back to my mama's kitchen. I want my son to have these same memories, to enjoy the food as much as I do, so, I give him this gift as it was given to me, out of love.

Čobanac sa žličnjacima
Shepherd's Goulash

Ingredients

300g. (11 oz.) veal
300g. (11 oz.) pork
6 tablespoons oil
200 g. (7 oz.) onions
100g. (4 oz,) carrots
50g. (2. oz) parsley root
1 clove garlic
ground sweet red pepper (to taste)
salt and pepper
1 chili pepper
1 tablespoon ajvar ( a piquant, spicy and delicious mixture of round, red, sweet peppers (known locally as tomato peppers), aubergines, and chili peppers, first baked, then peeled, minced and cooked to a thick consistency).
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon smetana
half a litre (20 fl. oz.) white wine
1 tablespoon Vegeta

Foer Dumplings:
350 g. (12 oz.) flour
1 egg
salt

Chop the onion. Grate the carrots and parsley root. Wash and dice the meat. Chop the garlic.
Heat the oil and lightly fry the onion, add the carrot and parsley root and braise for a while. Then add the meat and spice it with chili (or cayenne) pepper, red pepper and salt. Add a little hot water, bay leaf, Vegeta and allow to simmer gently, adding further water as required.

When the meat is half cooked, add the dumplings, garlic, and ground pepper. Finally, stir in the ajvar, wine and smetana.

Dumplings:
Mix the egg, salt and flour with sufficient water to produce a thick dough. Work the dough by beating it against the side of the mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until it becomes smooth and elastic and peels easily away from the spoon. Spoon pieces of prepared dough into a larger saucepan of salted boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes, remove the dumplings and drain them.
.

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