What’s cooking in Croatia?
Ćevapčići with Ajvar
Kim is one of my dearest friends from Amsterdam. We met when we were teenagers in High School and we are still friends today, even though we do not live in the same country anymore. Kim’s mother is originally from Croatia and many of their family holidays were spent there, exploring beautiful Croatia and visiting family. Kim speaks some basic Croatian, and definitely enjoys the food from her mom’s home country. Every year, on her birthday, Kim eats Ćevapčići, so when I asked her to share a Croatian recipe with us, she didn’t have to think very long which one it would be 😊. I am happy that Kim shared her mom’s Ćevapčići recipe with us!
Ćevapčići is a meat dish often eaten in Croatia, mostly in the coastal region. It can be eaten as a snack, but also as a main dish. Traditionally it is eaten with bread and Ajvar on the side. Ajvar is a puree of bell peppers, eggplant and spanish pepper and can also be used as a bread spread. Ajvar is often made in big quantities and put in different jars as it can be kept for quite a while.
Cooking time: 45 minutes (and 2 hours in the fridge) for the Ćevapčići, about 2 hours for the Ajvar.
Ingredients for the Ćevapčići (serves 6):
- minced meat (600gr of porc minced meat, 400gr of beef minced meat)
- 1 small onion, chopped up
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 tablespoon of chopped up parsley
- 1 tablespoon of paprika powder
- Salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon of each)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Note: (varieties of Ćevapčići exist, the difference is mainly in the meat used, you can of course adapt to the meat you prefer)
Ingredients for the Ajvar (for 2 filled up classic jam jars):
- 1 eggplant
- 4 bell peppers
- 1 spanish pepper
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Cloves of garlic to your liking (I used 2)
- Sterilized jars
How to prepare Ćevapčići:
- Mix the minced meat with all the ingredients
- Leave it for at least 2 hours in the fridge
- Take it out again and form the sausages of approximately 7-8 cm long and 2 cm large.
- Brush the sausages with some olive oil
- Grill, or fry them in a bit of olive oil on medium heat. Turn them around regularly and keep brushing with olive oil when necessary until they are nicely browned and cooked through. This will take about 10 minutes.
How to prepare Ajvar:
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius
- Wash the vegetables, put them in an oven dish and grill the vegetables for 25 minutes. When the skin of the bell peppers are real dark, they will peel off easier.
- Let them cool off a bit and start taking off the stems, seeds, and for the bell peppers, I peel off their skin.
- Cut into pieces and put it in your blender to puree. If your blender is not big enough you can of course repeat this with smaller quantities a few times.
- Start heating up some olive oil in a big pot, and fry the crushed garlic cloves in it.
- When the garlic cloves start to brown, you add the puree and get it to boil.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once it boils, you lower the temperature and leave it to cook for about an hour.
- You then let it cool off and fill up your jars.
If you have sterilized your jars beforehand, you will be able to keep it for a while. Since I foresee some delicious Ajvar and cheese sandwiches for lunch, I keep my jars in the fridge as I don’t think they will be kept so long in our family 😊.
Thank you Kim for having shared this delicious dish from Croatia with us!