Coastal Croatian food is not something I would normally feature on my blog as its not part of my cultural heritage (which is continental) and is primarily comprised of….you guessed it, seafood. I’ve never been big into seafood, or at least not preparing it myself, so really the only time I eat it if I’m on the coast since a) its super fresh, and b) its super fresh. I mean, honestly they just throw some olive oil and salt on it and through it on the grill and its really good. However, pašticada is a beef stew and I can SO get behind preparing that. Who doesn’t like beef stew?
- 1 kg of top round steak (rump works, as well)
- 25 grams of bacon or pancetta
- 1 head of garlic, sliced
- 1/2 liter of red wine vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup of carrots, sliced
- 1 cup of celeriac, sliced
- 70 grams of tomato concentrate
- 50 ml of olive oil
- 6 prunes
- 3 dried figs
- 1 apple
- 150 ml red wine
- plum jam (optional)
- salt + pepper
Prep the meat by rubbing it with salt. Next create slits all over and stuff with the garlic and pancetta. Coat in the olive oil and then pour over the vinegar and spread around the onions. Place in the fridge overnight or prep in the morning so that its ready by dinner time. Turn it at least a few times so that it marinates evenly.
Drain out the marinade (but reserving 1 cup of the onion, bacon, and garlic) and place the meat in a large pot. Brown on each side (letting it form a crust), then remove and set aside. Next add the onion mixture. Once they start to caramelize, add the carrots and celeriac. Once everything starts to brown, add the beef back, a few sprinkles of rosemary, the bay leaves,prunes, dried figs, tomato concentrate, and wine. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 2 hours. Half way through cooking, add the apple. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. There should be a balance between the flavors of the wine and the fruit–sour and sweet–so you can add a dash of sugar or even plum jam to balance it out. Or salt and pepper. Or additional wine.
Remove the meat and set aside. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
Use a hand mixer to cream the vegetables into the sauce or transfer to a blender.
Cut the meat into 2 cm slices and serve with the sauce and gnocchi. Sprinkle with parsley.