Meat

Meat

By
Ino Kuvacic
Contains
25 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781743792551

Many things have changed in Croatia since I was a child. Today, meat is bought in large supermarkets already sliced or cut into pieces and packed in plastic, and there aren’t as many small butcher’s shops. When I lived there, I used to buy meat for my grandmother at the local butcher – my grandmother had a problem with her legs and couldn’t go out any more. She would say, ‘Tell him it is for Tomica (her name) and watch he doesn’t cheat on the scales’. I would tell the butcher the part of the meat my grandmother wanted and he would pull down a large piece of meat from a hook, cut it up in front of me with a huge cleaver, weigh it and wrap it in thick white paper. My grandmother would then use it to make a great soup and the meat would be served poached with tomato sauce, sautéed potatoes and salad. Sometimes she would make a delicious beef ragu with potato dumplings. Because of those dumplings I loved to go and buy the meat for my grandmother!

Veal, beef and pork are the most popular meats and cooked in many different ways. In Dalmatia we produce some of the world’s best pršut. This Dalmatian version of prosciutto is salted then smoked for a few days, which makes it distinct from its Italian and Spanish counterparts, which aren’t smoked. The town of Drniš in the Dalmatian hinterland is famous for the best prosciutto – as well as the tallest people in Europe.

Many people in Croatia opposed the country joining the European Union as the EU has strict laws about livestock. Therefore, there is no more home-made pršut (prosciutto) or other smallgoods. Disaster! Most people still make these things at home, but please don’t tell the EU.

Game is prepared with special care in Dalmatia, as it’s not every day that your table is visited by nice pheasant, hare, boar or deer. Usually game is marinated in good red wine and vinegar overnight to tenderise it, and then cooked into rich stews and ragus. These dishes are served with potato dumplings, hand-made pastas or polenta.

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