Because both of my parents hail from Slavonija, I had heard of Pašticada but never made it and quite frankly I had never even tried it. So here is another first time recipe, being another Dalmatian classic that wasn’t taught up north.
Taking days to prepare this is the grand-dame of Dalmatian cooking and served at home for a special lunch/dinner or at functions like weddings, christenings etc. While apparently you can make Pašticada with figs, I used Ino Kuvacic’s recipe from his Dalmatia cookbook which uses the original apples and prunes for the sauce.
I loved making this and I hope you do too! I did make potato dumplings to go with it but the rectangular shape that they should be, didn’t work for me, they all just fell apart in the boiling water. So I made them into balls, if you have any tips, please let me know.
(for the Pašticada)
- 2.5 kilos beef cheeks
- One (1) litre red wine
- 50mls red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar as that’s what was in the cupboard)
- Two (2) brown onions, diced 2mm thick
- Two (2) carrots, diced 2mm thick
- Two (2) celery stalks, diced 2mm thick
- Three (3) whole cloves
- Half a cinnamon stick
- Two (2) bay leaves
- 200mls extra-virgin olive oil
- 100 grams prosciutto, diced
- Three garlic cloves, crushed
- 400 grams tomatoes, diced
- Three (3) litres beef stock
- Two apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
- 200 grams tinned pitted prunes, diced
- One (1) tablespoon dijon mustard
- One (1) teaspoon prune jam (if you can find it??)
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
(the for dumplings)
- One kilo waxy potatoes (desiree, sebago or nicola)
- 240 grams plain flour
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- One (1) egg
- 50 grams grated parmesan cheese
- Marinate the beef overnight in the red wine, vinegar, onion, carrot, celery, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves.
- The next day, take the beef out of the marinade, separate the vegetables and the liquid and keep them both.
- Seal the cheeks in the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove the beef and deglaze the pan with the marinade.
- In another saucepan over high heat, sauté the prosciutto, and when crispy, add the chopped garlic. Add all the marinated vegetables and spices, and sauté for a further 20-25 minutes.
- When the vegetables are cooked, add the tomato and sauté for a further five minutes.
- Add the sealed beef cheeks, deglaze liquid, and the beef stock. Braise for 90 minutes.
- (Make the dumplings around here)
- Add the peeled apples and pitted prunes and cook for a further 60 minutes, or until the cheeks are cooked. You should be able to push your fingers through the cheek but it still should have some resistance.
- When the cheeks are cooked, remove the beef, cinnamon stick and bay leaves from the braising liquid and set aside.
- Skim any scum off the top and then use a hand-blender to blend the liquid until smooth.
- Adjust the flavour using the mustard and jam – the flavour should be sweet and sour.
- Divide the cheeks among the serving plates and pour the sauce over and add the dumplings to serve.
- Put the potatoes, unpeeled, into a saucepan of boiling water and boil until cooked.
- Drain and peel them while still hot.
- Pass the potatoes through a ricer. Place potatoes into a bowl with the flour, softened butter, egg, parmesan and season with salt. Taste to make sure it’s seasoned enough.
- While still warm, roll the dough into 2cm balls and roll a fork over them. I did all of this on baking paper, as they started to stick on my wooden board.
- Cook the dumplings in boiling water for three minutes, or until they come to the surface. Gently take them out of the water with a slotted spoon, drain.
Let me know if you tried this Dalmatian sensation and what you thought?
Dobar Tek! Zivjeli! (Bon Appetit! Cheers and let’s live!)