I’m baaaaaaaaack!!! After a two week long Croatian Vacation and about 6 days of recovering from jet lag, I’m back and ready to get back in the swing of cooking healthy meals again. We had some of the most AMAZING food ever in Croatia. I would kill to be able to have Europe’s food shipped to me. When you can eat Gelato EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not feel fat and bloated, you know it’s made with quality ingredients (AKA: nonGMO). Seriously, we didn’t eat anything that we didn’t like. And to top things off, you know it’s a great vacation when you come home and you’ve dropped 4 pounds! That is CLEAN eating in my book!
The very first night we got to Croatia, Omar’s buddy, Mario took us to a Bosnian restaurant. This is where we were introduced to ćevapčići. This is pronounced che-vap-chee-chee. I’m pretty sure we had this dish about 6 times throughout our 2 weeks stay. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, Omar ordered it in every country we went to! To say that we’re creatures of habit would be a huge understatement. 🙂 Cevapčići are small minced meat kebabs that are commonly made of beef or a mix of other meats such as veal, lamb, and pork. The Turkish influence on this dish is clear, and there are many regional variations that play with the size, shape, meat mince and blend, flavorings, and final presentation. In Bosnia, the ćevapčići are short and slightly fat. Each one is a mere hungry mouthful or two full of meat. Croatian ćevapčići are slightly longer. In some regions the ćevapčići might be served on a bed of fresh hand cut potato fries. In other areas, ćevapčići can be found in a pita smothered in sauce. This was my favorite way to eat it!
This is not 100% Paleo, only because in Croatia (Slovenia, Montenegro, and Bosnia) they serve it with some type of bread or potato. So, in order to give my favorite version of ćevapčići, I served it with a little Naan bread.
Here’s what you’re going to need… It’s super easy, but a little time consuming when it’s time to make the sausages. Trust me when I say, it’s totally worth it!
Yields: 6 Servings
- 1 lb grass fed ground beef
- 1 lb grass fed ground lamb
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup hot water (not boiling – I let the faucet water get super hot and used that)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- salt and pepper to taste
- Naan Bread or Pita Bread, toasted
1. Mix all ingredients together and gently fold the meats and ingredients together with your hands. It’s a little messy, but you don’t want to over work the meat. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. This will help tenderize the meat and make it easier to shape.
2. Start shaping your meat into little sausages, about the length of your finger. Compared to the ones we had in Croatia, mine were a little too fat, but still delicious nonetheless! I say make them however you like!
3. Get out a big saute pan and add some fat. I used 1 tbsp of olive oil plus 1 tbsp butter (that’s my favorite combination). Put the heat on medium to medium high. Once your pan is hot, start cooking the meat! 3-4 minutes per side. Don’t over cook it!
4. I served this with Naan bread and a roasted red bell pepper and eggplant sauce. (Continue reading for the sauce recipe!) Wrap a ćevapčići in some bread and slather a little bit of this sauce on it… It’s SO goooooood, y’all!!!
Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Sauce Recipe:
1 large eggplant, chopped (size doesn’t matter, after it roasts, it’ll be pureed.)
4 red bell peppers, chopped
1 head of garlic, halved (drizzle of little olive oil and salt and pepper on it and wrap it up in foil to roast while your veggies roast)
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Roast the red peppers and eggplant in the oven on 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic in to the oven to roast too.
2. In a blender or food processor, add the roasted veggies and garlic. You should be able to squeeze out the garlic cloves. Add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and puree for about 15-20 seconds.