After our wild drive through the back country of Bosnia and discovering this oh-so-gorgeous lake, we continued to meander through thickly-forested mountains, catching our breath at towering cliffs, turquoise lakes, and pristine rivers cascading through deep, rocky gorges. Although five members of our party were very talkative womenfolk, silence reigned as we gazed in absolute awe and delight at the stunning vistas on every side. I felt that we had stumbled into a magical fairyland. THIS was where giants lived and trolls fought and beautiful maidens spun things in tiny cabins deep in the forest.
In homage to this beautiful country, I researched some of the exquisite food we ate while we were there, and stumbled upon recipes for a dish I absolutely loved: cevapi.
Looking very much like American breakfast sausages, these lovely morsels are a combination of ground beef, lamb and pork, mixed with onions and garlic, and are served in flat bread or pita and topped with an assortment of condiments depending on the specific Balkan region you’re in.
I did not have ground lamb or pork, so I substituted half a ham. I grated it finely and added it to the beef, mixed in grated onion, pepper, salt, finely minced garlic, 1 tsp of baking soda and an egg white to bind it together. Taking a small handful of meat mix, I molded it into the shape of a breakfast link, repeating until all the meat was used, then covered the cevapi and chilled it for an hour. (The combination is not very wet and must be chilled for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld and the mixture to bind.) Finally I fried them until they were nicely browned on all sides.
Traditionally they are served on bread with ajvar (a roasted pepper spread), diced onions, diced bell peppers, tomatoes, and sour cream. I skip the bread entirely and pile on the condiments, or simply dip them in grainy mustard for a quick afternoon snack. They are splendid hot or cold. 🙂
This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.
Rambling Tart version of Cevapi
1 pound ground beef
2 cups grated ham (traditionally made with 1/2 pound ground pork and 1/2 pound ground lamb)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 red onion, grated
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg white
Salt and pepper to taste (you won’t need much salt at all if you use ham instead of ground pork/lamb)
Flat bread or pita
Toppings: ajar, chopped onion, bell pepper, tomato and sour cream.
- Mix everything.
- Mold into breakfast link sized pieces. Chill for 1 hour.
- Fry or grill until browned on all sides.
- Serve with flat bread/pita, chopped onion, bell pepper, tomato and sour cream.