For ages the citizens of Dubrovnik believed their fair city was founded in the 7th century by Dalmatian refugees escaping from a Serb attack. But recent archaeological findings suggest that perhaps it was started by Greek sailors, who used the ideally placed spot as a watering hole on their travels between Budva and Korčula.
Whoever those early settlers were, they did a humdinger of a job. Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen.
Originally known as Ragusa, Dubrovnik is perched on the brilliantly blue Adriatic. Thick stone walls encircle it, once providing protection from marauding Arabs, Venetians, Macedonians, and Serbs. Inside the walls are a dizzying array of opulent churches, stately homes, and narrow stone streets that branch off into dark passageways like a waterless Venice.
The settlement of Dubrovnik developed into a thriving Republic that rivaled mighty Venice for control of the Adriatic waterways and trade with the Near East. Through canny diplomacy and the vast wealth at its disposal, it became a powerful and influential society.
It established many institutions and laws that are remarkably modern in scope. Medical service was introduced in 1301 and the first pharmacy (still operating) was opened in 1317. It also provided a refuge for the elderly (1347), a quarantine hospital (1377) and an orphanage in (1432). Slave trading was abolished in 1418 and in 1436 a 20 kilometer water supply system was constructed.
Alas, in 1667 Dubrovnik was devastated by a catastrophic earthquake that killed over 5000 people and leveled every major building. Only the Sponza Palace and Rector’s Palace survived. It was the beginning of Dubrovnik’s decline.
In homage to this fascinating city, I made Croatian Chicken Moskva, a delectably creamy dish that reminds me of a chicken version of Beef Stroganoff. I browned the chicken then set it aside, added sliced green onions to the pan juices, then tomatoes, fresh thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. When everything is soft I stirred in sour cream mixed with flour and paprika. A few minutes of cooking turned it into a thick savory sauce to pour over the chicken. Mmm. Delectably comforting.
This is my contribution to Wanderfood Wednesday. Click here to view more recipes from around the world.
Croatian Chicken Moskva
2 chicken breasts, thawed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced (or half a can fire-roasted diced tomatoes)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp paprika
- Divide each breast in two. Fry in melted butter until nicely browned.
- Add chicken broth, cover and simmer 20 minutes until cooked through. Remove from pan and keep warm.
- Add green onion to pan juices and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add tomato and cook until mushy.
- Add parsley and thyme, salt and pepper, simmer 1-2 minutes.
- In small bowl mix sour cream, flour and paprika. Add to pan and stir to mix well. Cook 2-4 minutes or until thick.
- Place chicken on platter, spoon sauce over, sprinkle with fresh parsley or thyme and serve.