Tag: Lepinje

Legendary Dishes | Mešano Meso (mixed grill)

Mixture for the mixed grill dish called cevap

Serbia is a culinary gateway. It leads in various directions to the fabulous food of the people who have inhabited the Balkan lands for thousands of years.

The Ottoman influence is still present but as each of the Balkan countries and regions assert their own cultural identities in the fast lanes of the 21st century, the slow food of past centuries becomes prominent. Among these are the methods used to cook meat, especially beef, chicken, pork and veal.

At Cevap kod Dekija on Strahinjića Bana 71 in old Belgrade, between the Danube and Sava rivers, they make the argument that the grill does not always indicate fast food. ‘It is one of the best and healthiest ways to prepare meat,’ they say and it is hard to argue with them or with this food identity.

beef rissoles

Their specialties, made with high quality cuts and products of beef and veal cooked over beech charcoal, epitomise the mešano meso culture of Serbia. These include burgers, sausages and the rissoles known as cevap and ćevapčiči made from ground beef and seasonings.

Cevap / Ćevapčići

  • 1 kg beef, minced
  • 45 ml water
  • 10 g sweet paprika, ground
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g pepper
  • Olive oil, for greasing

Bring all ingredients together in a large bowl and knead until the fat in the meat starts to separate onto the hands. Leave to stand for an hour in a cold place.

Shape into croquettes, about 10 cm long, 3 cm thick.

Oil a grill and place them together without touching each other. Grill, turning several times, until they are cooked.

Serve with onions and paprika in lepinje.

Breads of Europe | Lepinje (flatbread)


Lepinje! Pide? Pita?

Pita bread is associated with middle Eastern and north African baking and with kebab shops who stuff meat and salad into the flat pouch.

Despite its origins in Arabic countries, pita is an integral aspect of European bread making. Known as pita in the Balkans and Greece, pizza in Italy (before its famous topping) and pide in Turkey, the common denominator for a successful flatbread is a hot airy oven.

Not as well known is the flatbread of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, a deliciously soft pouch called lepinje usually made with milk. We have used yoghurt. Kefir is also a good medium.

It can be made with kefir or with yoghurt. We have used yoghurt.

  • 1 kg strong white wheat flour
  • 500 ml yoghurt at room temperature or no lower than 20ºC
  • 175 ml lukewarm water
  • 100 g white sourdough
  • 30 g salt
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g white wheat flour
  • 15 g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • Flour for dusting (optional)
  • Oil for greasing
  • Warm milk / warm water for washing

Put yeast, sugar and three tablespoons of flour in the warm water. Stir and leave to rise for two hours.

Sift the flour into a bowl, add salt, yeast mixture and yoghurt, knead for five minutes.

Add sourdough and knead for ten minutes.

Leave to rise for an hour, degas, leave to rise for a further hour.

Grease baking trays lightly with oil.

Divide dough into eight equal pieces, shape into balls, rest for 15 minutes.

Shape with palm of hand into long teardrops.

Cut squares into the dough.

Wash with warm milk or warm water, cover and leave for half an hour.

With 15 minutes to go pre-heat oven to 240°C.

Sprinkle each pouch with black sesame seeds and dust with flour.

Bake in two batches, until the breads have puffed and turned a red-brown colour, about 13 minutes.