Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cevapcici - Little Croatian Memories

It was about this time of year in 2007 that we made our travel plans to Croatia. It was the best trip I have even taken. Not only was the country and the people beautiful on so many levels, but we loved the food, the swimming, the sunshine and the wine. It was in Northern Croatia that we became engaged. The country will always have a special place in our hearts.

We have been trying to replicate our favorite Croatian dishes at home. Some have been easier than others. We have yet to procure an herb-fed lamb and the oversized coal spit needed to properly roast it. We are also still searching for the lovely herbal white wines we enjoyed while traveling. But, we have perfected our favorite Croatian snack food.

Cevapcici (pronounced Che - Vap - Chi -Chi, saying this word causes Justin to burst into song) are little mixed meat sausages. They are the perfect snack to enjoy on a hot summer day, after spending hours swimming in the warm Adriatic. Cevapcici were usually served up with some chopped tomatoes and cucumber with a warm flat bread.

I added some sweet, pickled red peppers to the recipe. I think this adds a little more spice and sweetness to the sausages. I find them in bulk with the olives in the deli section of grocery stores. They are shiny, red, and look like they will fit perfectly over your thumb. I hope the cevapcici conjure up thoughts of summer sunshine and lazy afternoons.

This makes plenty for dinner for 4, or leftovers for lunch the next day. Serve with chopped cucumbers, pickled peppers and tomatoes. They are also great over rice.
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground lamb (or do all pork if you don't like lamb)
3 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 a finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon salt, (or Vegeta if you have it)
1/4 cup chopped sweet, pickled red peppers
2-3 tablespoons pickle liquid
small handful chopped parsley (plus a little more for garnish)
black pepper

1. Mix together in a large bowl until everything is thoroughly combined. Use your hands for the best mixing.
2. Roll mixture into sausages about the size your thumb (really fat thumbs, not that you have fat thumbs. Your thumbs are lovely!). Line them up on a broiler pan, making sure there is a little space between each one.
3. Broil on low for about 4 minutes, then roll and cook for another 4 minutes. Continue until all four sides are cooked and sizzling.
4. Sprinkle with a little more chopped parsley and serve with salad, bread or rice.

Rice with Peas and Garlic
2 cups cooked rice
olive oil
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1. In a large flat frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
2. Add rice and let brown on the bottom for a minute, then stir rice. Scrape the bottom to mix up the garlic and oil into the rice.
3. Add peas, stir into rice. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until everything is hot.

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