Ah, Croatia… Been there many times as a child, my grandmother was born in the then-Austro-Hungarian Empire, which now is the northeast of Croatia, eaten Croatian food countless times, so I was really looking forward to this one! Instead of usually doing research for what recipes there are for a country, I put down recipes I knew and liked and then tried to discuss what we should make and what might also have a chance for Nico to actually eat.
One of the first things that came to mind was Pljeskavica, which is a very big meat patty (about the size of half a regular dinner plate) and usually is served with some raw onions and Ajvar (a kind of red relish, which takes hours to prepare actually…), but in the end it all pointed towards tasty little ground beef “sausages” named Ćevapčići (pronounced che-vap-chi-chi) and a bell pepper rice called Đuveč (pronounced dzhoo-vetch).
So a little research found some great recipes on Allrecipes for the Ćevapčići and Makan Delights for the Djuvec, which read pretty authentic. We only did minor changes, such as replacing the meat mix with pure ground beef and changing up the peppers a little, based on what we had in the house, but nothing major.
We shared the work, with Nico taking care of the peppers and me doing the onions…
…he singlehandedly seasoned the whole thing…
and then poured whatever was left. So he was really involved in all parts, as usual, measuring, pouring, dumping, cracking, stirring and overall showing us how good he is in the kitchen despite his age!
For the Ćevapčići he also measured everything…
…Nico is getting really proficient and also doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty anymore (as in digging into meat and other stuff), and now he just has to also try what he makes, haha.
And I must say that the Ćevapčići came out almost EXACTLY how I remembered them from my childhood, so it was a big success, also that Nico really like them. For the Đuveč, we cooked it with a little less effort than the original recipe calls for and it did turn out a bit dryer than it should have been and less pepper-y, but it was close enough to fit well with the Ćevapčići
Check the other blogs of “Around the World in 12 Dishes” for their Croatian creations:
Please link up your Croatian dish and/or craft in our linky below, we would love to see it!