Up early in the morning to beat the crowds on the trams, and make my way to the food cornucopia of “Dolac”, in the center of Zagreb. I’m off to buy the cuttlefish for our risotto. Black risotto is of course a Dalmatian dish, but in Zagreb we get some of the best seafood delivered to the market every day
Creamy, decadent rice with white wine and slow poached cuttlefish that melts on the tongue like holy communion, now thats the business right there. This is usually served as a starter in Dalmatia, but a nice big portion accompanied with some tossed salad, and a good slice of sourdough, makes one great lunch or dinner. All you need with that is the sea breeze, and a good glass of Croatian wine, like Plavac.
Learn all this tips and tricks, from choosing your fish at the market, to cleaning and preparing it. Whats the best rice? What type of wine? We have you covered with this 2 hour cooking class
Recipe in English and Croatian
2 hour online workshop
Professional chef instructor
A short history of the dish
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Chicken parpikash (Paprikaš) originates in Hungary, a dish packed with the summer-flavors of deep red peppers, and Moorish smoked paprika. It’s always best to use chicken on the bone for this dish, I recommend using chicken thighs and/or drumsticks. When they cook slowly in this sharp and creamy sauce, the meat simply falls from the bone. Paprikaš has, like so many dishes, been adopted into the traditional Croatian kitchen cookbook. Most popular in the north and north-east of the country (giving its closeness to Hungary), paprikaš is traditionally served with široki rezanci (wide noodles), a little like pappardelle, but shorter and wider. This is the definition of summer comfort food, and it’s even more comforting to know how easy it is to make.
Chicken in creamy paprika sauce (Pileći Paprikaš)
What you need
150 g red peppers, diced finely
200 g onion, finely diced
2 clove of garlic, crushed
150 g fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. concentrate
2 tsp. corn flour
70 ml white wine
100 ml water
150 g sour cream
600 g chicken thigh, leg, and wing
Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Sear in a hot pan, until the meat is golden brown, and set aside.
In the same pan, sweat the garlic and onion along with the thyme, until slightly golden in color, scraping off all the brown pieces from the bottom of the pan.
Add the peppers and sauté for a few minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side down and add the wine, water, both paprika, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook slowly for 25 minutes.
Mix the sour cream with the cornflour and tomato concentrate and add to the pan. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and cook for a further 10 minutes. The sauce should be rich and thick.
Just before serving, add the fresh tomatoes and basil, and check for seasoning. Serve over cooked pasta. Enjoy
Soparnik. I first met you in 2016, it was the morning after a few too many Karlovačko on the island of korčula. The sun was burning through my clothes, and my fair Irish skin was beginning to resemble the shell of a freshly cooked lobster. I was in need of something light and tasty, anything with a large amount of garlic would hit the spot. And there you were, on a corner of a street, your garlicky perfume luring me towards your equally heat blistered skin, and that is exactly the moment I fell in love with Croatian food!
Now these aren’t the real thing, as much as I would like to tell you they are, but they’re not, you will have to live with that, jebiga. Soparnik is a bread, stuffed with chard, wilted in garlic and olive oil. Its baked on the open fire and the top is covered with hot coals, which scorches the bread, and imparts a toasty char to the whole thing. This flat-bread can be served as a light lunch or a snack, and typically goes great with a chilled glass of Plavac mali, one of the most famous wines in Croatia.
I make these mini ones by getting the baking dish roasting hot before setting the raw little disks into the oven. They are a bit “fiddly” to make, but are a joy to eat, and an interesting addition to your party food repertoire.
I use both garlic cloves, and young garlic shoots from the garden to really “beef up” the flavor. The cloves are intense and give a bit of heat, whilst the shoots are sweet and aromatic.
Since this is such a basic recipe, its essential to use top quality ingredients. That means super fresh chard, good garlic and the best olive oil you can find, which is easy for me, since Croatia literally have the best olive oil in the world.
Dosta moje filozofije, evo recepta, idemo delat 😉
500 g glatkog brašna
1 žličica soli
5 žlice maslinova ulja
340 ml vode (mlake)
1 kg blitve
1 žlica soli
50 ml maslinova ulja
60 g Mladog češnjaka ili mladog luka
50 ml maslinova ulja
2 češnja češnjaka
Zamijesite tijesto od brašna, soli, maslinova ulja i vode dok tijesto ne postane glatko, otprilike pet minuta. Pokrite krpom i ostavite da se odmori, nekih sat vremena.
Blitvu operite i odrežite bijele dijelove stabljike. Narežite na rezance i “utrljajte” sol, stavite u plastičnu vrećicu, napravite rupice. Na vrećicu stavite neku težinu (npr. Limenku graha) i pustite da se blitva ocijedi.
Za premaz: usitnite česnjak sa malo soli i pomiješajte sa maslinovim uljem.
Narežite mladi češnjak i stavite ga sa strane.
Istisnite višak tekućine iz blitve, i prosušite ju u krpi. Sotirajte blitvu i mladi češnjak na maslinovu ulju i po želji dodajte soli i papra. Stavite sa strane da se ohladi.
Prepolovite tijesto na dva jednaka dijela i izvaljajte svaku polovicu na otprilike 0,5 mm debljine.
Čašom izrežite krugove (od ove količine dobit ćete otprilike 40 krugova), dobivene krugove izbodite vilicom.
Na krug stavite jednu žlicu nadjeva od blitve, premažite vanjski dio kruga vodom, i jos jednim krugom preklopite prvi. Utisnite krajeve prstima.
Zagrijte pećnicu i lim na 200C, staviti mini soparnik da se peče 7 min, zatim ih okrenite i pecite još 7-10min. Izvadite iz pećnice I dobro premažite ranije napravljenim premazom.
For the Dough:
500g plain flour
1 tsp. salt
5 dessert sp. EVOO
340 ml tepid water
1 kg chard/mangold
1 tsp. salt
50 ml EVOO
60 g wild garlic/spring garlic/spring onion
50 ml EVOO
2 cloves of garlic
For the dough: Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, add the water and oil and knead until smooth, about 5 mins. Cover with a dry cloth and leave to rest for 1 hour.
Wash the chard, strip the green leaves from the stems. Cut the leaves into ribbons, rub in a little salt to help remove the liquid, and place in a plastic bag with a few holes in it, put something heavy on top, and leave to drain.
For the brushing oil: crush the garlic with a little salt and mix with the oil.
Finley chop the wild garlic.
Dry the chard in a cloth and sauté with some EVOO and the wild garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
When the dough is rested, spit in two, and roll each half out until about ½ cm thick. With a glass cut out about 40 smaller circles and jab each a few times with a fork (this will prevent the mini soparnik from rising too much in the oven).
Put 1 tsp. of the chard mix inside one disk of dough, and place another on top like a ravioli (rub a little water around the edge to help it stick).
Preheat the oven and baking tray to 200 C, bake the soparnik on one side for 7 minutes, turn and bake for another 7-10 minutes, or until golden and brown. Remove from the oven and brush generously with the garlic oil. Enjoy.