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Serbian recipes

| Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005

Mushkalitsa (Muskalice)

This recipe was developed by Eric "Spudz" Wallace, executive chef of Casbah restaurant in Shadyside, after visiting Belgrade with his wife in 2000. It was served to him by friends at a Serbian home. Stamoolis Bros., 2020 Penn Ave., Strip District, sells a complete line of feta cheeses, including Balkan, Bulgarian, French, Yugoslavian and Greek.

  • 4 pounds lean pork butt, trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 4 tablespoons best-quality hot Hungarian paprika
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 pound premium bacon, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large Spanish onion, cut in medium dice
  • 2 sweet red peppers, cut in medium dice
  • 2 sweet yellow peppers, cut in medium dice
  • 1 head garlic, broken into cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 quart homemade chicken stock
  • Polenta or mashed potatoes
  • Balkan feta cheese

Season the pork pieces by tossing them with the paprika, salt, cayenne pepper and brown sugar. Let rest for 5 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, place the butter and bacon. Heat until the bacon is crispy; remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Heat the drippings in the Dutch oven and begin adding small batches of the pork pieces. Sear on all sides until browned. Do not sear all of the pork at once. Remove the pork to a sheet tray until all of it has been seared.

Keeping the fat in the pan, add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the sweet peppers and garlic and cook down until softened, for about 4 minutes.

Return the pork to the Dutch oven and pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Braise, covered, for about 3 hours over low heat.

Serve with Cicvara (recipe below), polenta or mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with feta cheese and the reserved cooked bacon.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cicvara

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal

Bring the milk, butter, sour cream and salt to a slow boil. Cook until the butter is melted. Add the cornmeal and stir until thickened. Lower the heat, cover and let simmer until the butter comes to the top, for 5 to 10 minutes

Meat Burek

This recipe is from "100 Years of Cooking with St. Nicholas," a community cookbook by the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church School Congregation, Monroeville, published last year. It was was adapted from recipes contributed by Christine Rajkovich and Mary Ann Markinova Lindberg. For a copy of the cookbook, send $13 plus $4 shipping and handling to Cookbook Orders, c/o Cathy Stupar, 119 Highland Drive, Jeannette, PA 15644. Details: 724-527-5629 or 724-523-2784.

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons for sauteing onions
  • 3 medium-size yellow onions, chopped; or 1 large Bermuda or Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 pound phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (optional)

Place 2 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven and heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the beef, pork and the onion soup mix. Cook the meat until thoroughly browned. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour off the fat and set the meat mixture aside to cool. In a large measuring cup with a spout, beat the eggs well; set aside.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place 4 sheets of phyllo dough in the bottom of a 13- by 9-inch baking pan, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Cover the dough with one-half of the meat mixture and one-third of the mozzarella, if desired. Drizzle some of the beaten egg over the cheese.

Cover the egg with 3 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with melted butter. Cover with half of the remaining meat mixture, one-half of the mozzarella, if desired, then drizzle with some of the beaten egg.

Add another layer of 3 sheets of phyllo as before, followed by the remaining meat and cheese, if desired. Drizzle more of the egg on top, but reserve some for the final layer.

Complete the dish with 4 layers of phyllo, each brushed with butter. Pour the remaining egg over the top. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until nicely browned. Let rest before cutting into squares to serve.

Cevapcici

This recipe for ground meat rolls, from "100 Years of Cooking with St. Nicholas," was submitted by Maria Veselinovich.

  • 1 pound finely ground beef
  • 1/2 pound finely ground pork
  • 1/2 pound finely ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Finely chopped onions, for serving
  • Rolls, for serving

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix well. Shape the mixture into small cylinders 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches long. Broil on a charcoal grill for about 8 minutes on each side or until well done.

Serve with finely chopped onions on rolls.

Raznjic

This recipe for skewered spiced pork, from "100 Years of Cooking with St. Nicholas," was contributed by Maria Veselinovich. Veal or a combination of pork and veal can substitute for the pork loin.

  • 2 pounds pork loin, trimmed of all fat and gristle, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Bay leaves
  • Chopped onion, for garnish
  • Hot red and yellow peppers, sliced
  • Sliced cucumber, for garnish

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or zipper-top freezer bag. Add the pork and stir or toss to coat well. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Remove the meat from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Thread the pork onto small bamboo or 6- to 8-inch metal skewers, placing half of a bay leaf between each two cubes. Brush with the marinade and grill, brushing several times and turning as necessary, until the pork is cooked through, for about 10 to 20 minutes. (If you are going to brush the pork with the marinade during the last 5 minutes of cooking, boil it for 5 minutes on the stove first.) The pork should be done but not to the point of drying out. A meat thermometer inserted into the middle of one of the cubes should read 145 to 150 degrees.

Transfer the skewers to a platter. The bay leaf halves should not be eaten, so you can remove the meat from the skewers and arrange them attractively on the plate, discarding the bay leaves.

Garnish with chopped onion, hot peppers and cucumber. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Palachinka Casserole

This recipe, from "100 Years of Cooking with St. Nicholas," was contributed by Tracy Saula Karas.

  • Vegetable cooking spray

For the crepes:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • Dash salt

For the filling

  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash salt

For the custard topping

  • 6 large eggs
  • Dash salt
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 pints sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the crepes: Beat together the eggs and sugar. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 cup flour, beating until smooth. Add the remaining milk; beat again, then add the remaining flour, beating until smooth. Add the vanilla, 1 tablespoon oil and the salt. Mix thoroughly. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes to thicken.

Heat a small frying pan (7-inch) and coat it with vegetable oil. Pour a thin layer of batter in the pan, tilt to cover the bottom and fry until golden. Turn the crepe over and fry a few seconds longer. Transfer to parchment paper or wax paper and let cool, then stack the crepes.

Makes about 24 large crepes. Once the crepes are completely cooled, they can be stacked, wrapped in foil and refrigerated for as long as 5 days or frozen for as long as 2 months.

To make the filling: Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.

To make the custard topping: Beat together the eggs, salt and sugar. Beat for a long time for a thicker and fluffier custard. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until smooth.

To assemble: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay out a crepe on a work surface. Spread about { 1/4} cup filling on each one (the amount depends on the size of the crepe). Turn in the sides of the crepe and roll up like a jellyroll so the filling will not leak.

Coat a baking pan with vegetable cooking spray (the recipe contributor uses a 14- by 10-inch glass baking dish). Layer the crepes in the pan and pour the custard topping over.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is solidified. Serve warm or chilled.

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