(53) Croatia – Lamb (Beef) Peka

Views of the old walls of Dubrovnik. Source: The Traveler

Welcome back, today we travel back to the Balkans to the beautiful Croatia. This crescent-shaped country borders Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has over 1,200 countries, Krk being the largest and most populated. Interestingly it was believed to be the most populated area of Neanderthals and is home to the most remains in the world.

Croatian cuisine utilizes all forms of meat from land and sea, various vegetables, plenty of olive oil and wine. Each region brings different dishes and flavors like many countries. Peka, the dish I made today (recipe), consists of a variety of vegetables and a meat of choice cooked in plenty of olive oil, white wine, tomato paste and herbs. In Croatia it is often cooked outdoors over a fire, the dome lid is covered with hot coals for about 2 hours.

Since I made this during the week I had limited time to cook so I decided to try using my crockpot on low instead. I found out when following this recipe it used A LOT of vegetables, actually too many.. It was so much that I just could put the lid on the crockpot. It cooked for at least 10.5 hours (since I work long days) and was very done in crockpot fashion when I got home. Due to the high volume of vegetables it required additional liquid in order not to dry out the food. Looking back I should have used half the vegetables.

The meal was served with jasmine rice and sprinkled with dried thyme and rosemary. The white wine pulled through with the acidic sweetness. We thought it had savory elements and the meat was very tender, but overall it was on the more basic side. It could have very well been my execution and alteration to the recipe that lead to it being this way. We rated it 6/10 for the above reasons.

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