Dalmatian Pastišada, or Croatian Beef Stew, is a complex but rewarding dish that’s a staple of Croatian holiday tables!
“An ancient recipe dating back to the Roman era, Dalmatian Pašticada is a very well-known, traditional Croatian dish. There are several versions of the recipe, with almost every town along the Croatian coast adding its own nuances to the dish and expanding the palette of flavors. Preparation of this dish is complex, with several stages, but the end result is a reward for all the effort. My grandmother’s was the best.”-PJER Šimunović, Ambassador of Croatia
🇭🇷 Croatia: Dalmatian Pašticada
- 1.6 pounds of beef frikando traditionally, or U.S. rump or top round roast
- A few whole cloves
- 4 garlic cloves cleaned and cut into thick pieces lengthwise
- 1/2 pound bacon cut into thick sticks
- 2 cups red wine vinegar
- 7 tablespoons 100g/3.5 oz lard
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- Celery root a small piece, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg grated
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup prošek or red wine + 2 sugar cubes
- Stock or water as needed
To darken and thicken the sauce (if needed):
- 1 teaspoon breadcrumbs + 1 teaspoon tomato paste + a bit of lard
- Wash the beef, drain, and pat it dry.
- Cut deep slits in the meat and insert cloves, pieces of garlic, and sticks of bacon in each.
- Pour a generous amount of red wine vinegar into a large ceramic or plastic bowl (don’t use a metal one!). Then, place the meat in the vinegar. Let the meat marinate in the vinegar overnight. Turn the meat from time to time so it marinates evenly. If you can’t be bothered with turning the meat, add enough water to the bowl (besides the vinegar) so the meat is completely submerged.
- The following day, add the meat and lard to a large pot and sear the meat over medium-high heat. Once the entire surface is browned and the meat doesn’t release any liquid, take the meat out of the pot.
- Then, add the onion, celery root, salt and pepper, and grated nutmeg to the same pot you were searing the meat in and sauté them until the onion is caramelized.
- Now, dissolve the tomato paste in prošek, and pour that liquid into the pot with the meat. Once boiling, add water or stock and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours until tender. Add more stock or water as needed.
- When done, slice the meat, then place the slices into the sauce in the pot and cook for another 30 minutes.
- If the sauce is not thick and dark enough, separately sauté the breadcrumbs in a little bit of fat, then add a teaspoon of tomato paste. Add the mixture to the sauce and the meat near the end of cooking.
- Serve with gnocchi, macaroni, or potato phyllo pie.