Serbian cooking, 104pp.
by Danijela Kracun and Charles McFadden
Schiffer Publishing, Atglen Pennsylvania, 2015
Cooking on page 32–33
About 40 years ago, when I was on my way from Trieste, Italy to Athens, Greece. I travelled by train for about 40 hours, sitting on my suitcase in the space between carriages—the train was full. We trundled through what was then Yugoslavia, including areas that later became Serbia. Thinking ahead, I took food with me, so never had the chance to sample any Serbian food choices.
But always keen to expand my knowledge of different foods, I was attracted to this cookbook at the local library and figured it was time to try this cuisine.
Author Danijela Kracun was born in Serbia but, at the age of 10, moved to New York. The recipes here are from her mother and her Serbian and Romanian grandmothers. Fellow author, Charles McFadden, is her partner. Together they have produced nine books, but this is their only cookbook.
Page 32 has one of the few non-vegetarian recipes in the book.
1½ pounds ground pork
1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground turkey
1 egg white
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pepper (black and/or cayenne) to taste
½ teaspoon paprika
1 onion, finely chopped
In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, ground beef, ground turkey and egg white. Add the onion, garlic, salt, baking soda, black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika. Mix well using your hands.
Form into finger-length sausages about ¾-inch thick; arrange on a plate.
Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for one hour to one day, to let the flavours settle and the mixture to become firm.
Preheat the grill, medium-low heat. Lightly oil the grilling surface.
Grill cevapi until cooked through, turning as needed. The grilling usually takes about 30 minutes.
How it played out
Out of necessity, I made a few small changes. The recipe calls for a total of 3 pounds of meat. I used what I had on hand, which was 1 pound each of ground beef, ground pork and ground chicken. Close enough, I figured.
I then used a mix of paprika, cayenne and black pepper, basically 1 teaspoon of each. I followed everything else, except for the shaping of the sausages. I was in a hurry, so made them a little longer and fatter than the recipe suggested. That meant I cooked them for a little longer, but not by much. Before cooking them, I left them to ‘cure’ in the fridge for just one hour.
The recipe didn’t say how many it made, but I managed to get 14 much fatter and slightly longer sausages.
Served with potato wedges and five-bean salad. I ate two, Poor John had three and 15-year-old Ralph (our tall and growing exchange student from France) had five. 🙂
The result was a tasty meatloaf-like sausage that was especially easy to make. I can imagine making this again when I have all three kinds of protein on hand (or maybe even with just one). I’m sure it will work with any ground meats.
In future I would add a second teaspoon of cayenne or chilli powder and maybe a couple of squirts of barbecue sauce.
But I confess that I am a spice junkie, so you might be completely happy with the recipe as is. Make it once, see what you think and tinker the next time.
In recent years, we’ve travelled in eastern Europe on two occasions. Here’s the time a waiter made me clean my plate.