Legendary Dishes | Dalmatinske Pašticada (sweet pot beef)

Pot Beef Slices in Aromatic Sweet Sauce
Dalmatian Pašticada CROATIA MONTENEGRO sweet pot beef

Every June a festival is held in Petrovac on the Montenegrin section of the Dalmatian coast. The event is a celebration of pašticada, a traditional dish insanely popular with the inhabitants of this stunning coastline, served free with several other coastal specialities.

Along the Dalmatian coast the method of flavouring the beef differs slightly, but the sauce is generally made with prunes and raisins, occasionally with figs. Prosek, the Balkan sherry wine, is another essential indigenous ingredient. 

For Split travel guide Pero Milos pašticada was integral to his young life. Prepared for carnival, for weddings and for New Year’s Eve since the mid-20th century, the cut of meat for pašticada varied along the Croatian Dalmatian coast. In Split pašticada is part of brunch (ten o’clock to noon) and made with beef fillet is simply delicious. Generally it is made with the rump or the silverside.

There are similarities between pašticada and the sauerbraten, the soured beef of Bavaria. Pašticada is different because it is sweet, although some versions are sweet and sour!

  • 2 kg beef fillet / leg / loin / rump / silverside
  • 350 ml water
  • 250 ml red wine vinegar
  • 200 g pancetta fingers / prosciutto slices, rolled into a cigar shape
  • 6 garlic cloves, halved
  • 6 rosemary sprigs
  • 6 cloves

Make deep cuts at each end of the beef, stuff with pancetta or prosciutto. Make shallow cuts in the body of the beef, insert garlic halves. Puncture the beef with cloves and rosemary. Place in a deep bowl, add vinegar and water to completely soak the beef. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 24 hours, 48 hours is better.

Finish 1
  • 100 g raisins
  • 60 ml marinade liquid
  • 6 figs, dried, chopped

Soak the raisins and figs in the marinade for eight hours.

Finish 2 
  • 300 g onions, sliced
  • 300 celeriac, grated
  • 300 g carrots, grated
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped small
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 10 g mustard powder

Pour four tablespoons of oil into a deep pot (slightly larger than the piece of beef), gently fry the carrot, celery, celeriac and onions. When the vegetables have reduced stir mustard power into the mixture. The pot should have a steam hole to allow a slow evaporation of the cooking liquid.

Finish 3
  • 2 kg marinaded beef
  • 30 ml olive oil

Remove the beef from the vinegar, strain vinegar into a bowl. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, brown the beef on all sides.

Finish 4
  • {browned, marinaded beef}
  • {fried vegetables}
  • 500 ml beef broth / bouillon made with 30 g Vegeta
  • 500 g red grapes
  • 150 ml prune juice
  • 60 ml marinade liquid (optional)
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Nutmeg, large pinch

Carefully place the browned beef into the pot with the fried vegetables, add the broth or bouillon, grapes, prune juice and, if a sour taste is required, some of the marinade liquid. Cook over a low heat for two hours.

Finish 5 
  • {soaked fruit}
  • 250 g prunes, stoned
  • 100 ml Prosek (dessert wine) / sherry / red wine
  • 100 g sour apple, cored, peeled, chopped
  • 30 g tomato concentrate / puree
  • 15 g honey

Add the soaked fruit and their liquid, the prunes and apple. Gradually bring up the heat. Add the wine. Cook for 30 minutes, adding the tomato concentrate and honey after 25 minutes. When the beef is starting to fall apart, the pašticada is ready. 

Finish 6
  • Cooking mixture

Remove the beef from the pot, leave to rest covered with foil for ten minutes. Meanwhile blend the cooking mixture into sauce. Cut the beef into thick slices, serve with the sauce. Pašticada is traditionally served with gnocchi.