Easy skinless sausages: ćevapčići
Amongst the Croatian_recipes, ćevapčići (pronounced something like cheh-VAP-chee-lee) are probably the most traditional dish. Apparently, were the Turks through the Ottoman Empire invasions during the Middle Ages who brought to the countries of South-eastern Europe their kebabs, which became the ćevapčići (from the Persian word kebab and the addition of the Slavic diminutive ending –čići, which we could translate as “little kebabs”) that are still massively consumed in the area of the former Yugoslavia today, and of course, in Croatia.
Basically, they consist of a minced meaty seasoned mix shaped into skinless sausages and then grilled or pan fried.
They can be consumed as appetizers, and as such, as is usual within the Croatian_recipes, they can be served in a flatbread or pita ( somun or lepinje), or as a meal accompanied with vegetables in the form of raw chopped onions and red peppers or prepared as
– relish based on red bell peppers, aubergines, garlic and chilli pepper-, and with lettuce and some dairy product such as kajmar (creamy and thick dairy made from the milk of water buffalos), sour cream, thick yogurt, or cottage cream.
The combination of tastes and textures in this Croatian_recipe is divine: the spiciness of the meats, the crunchiness of the lettuce, the softness of the vegetables and the cool relief of the dairies...
The current ćevapčići have many variations in the Balkan region. Not only in the seasoning (from simple salt and pepper to the addition of paprika and cayenne) but mainly in the meat combination. Pork and beef, or pork, beef and lamb are amongst the more popular combinations. However, in areas with predominantly Muslim population, like Bosnia, pork would be replaced by other meats, such as veal, or omitted altogether since they don’t eat pork. Some cooks also add baking soda, or sparkling water to make the meaty mix lighter.
(for about 16 sausages)
• 500g mince beef
• 250g mince pork
• 250g mince lamb
• 2 large white onions, finely chopped
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• Salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne to taste
• 2 tablespoons sparkling water
You don't have to, but because I love my digital scale, I do it in this way:
place a big bowl on the scale, set it to "0" and add the mince beef to the bowl.
Set the scale to "0" again and add the mince pork.
Repeat with the mince lamb.
Chop the onions,
and add them to the mix.
Add the crushed garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne,
and mix all together thoroughly.
Divide the "dough" into 4 pieces of similar size.
With your hands start shaping the mix into a long cylinder.
You will realise soon that is not that easy to shape!
I use cling film to help me. Place the cling film next to the cylinder,
and then roll the mix on top of the cling film.
Keep on rolling all the width of the cling film.
Now you can start shaping those sausages!
Once you are satisfied with their shape and diametre,
roll the mix off the cling film
and repeat with the next piece.
Cut each cylinder into 4 sausages and place them on a dish lined with cling film.
Take to the fridge for the consistency to set and get firmer for about 30-60 minutes
or until ready to cook them.
Note: In the unlikely scenario that you think you are not going to consume all of the sausages, you could freeze them at this stage. Defrost before pan frying or grill from frozen.
Grill or pan fry them turning the sausages around until they are no longer pink in the middle and look brown and ready (about 8-10 minutes).
Serve with pita bread,
sour cream and lettuce.
Presented like that, it is one of the most popular Croatian_recipes!
More Croatian_recipes coming soon.
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