I will add because I don't need drama over it's origins, they are eaten all over the Balkans. I can't tell you the actual origin of cevapi, nor do I care, but I do know they are eaten all over Croatia, and we usually serve them in a roll (lepinje) with ajvar and diced onions. I really like it with coleslaw.
What are Cevapi or cevapcici, they are skinless sausages.
The first time I made this I tried to rush this and made it in a few hours, I ended up with dry, crappy, cevapi. A few days later I gave it the time it needed and they were delicious. My kids faces when they ate them was priceless as they couldn't believe how good they were.
I like to use 750g beef mince to 250g pork mince. Don't use lean mince here, you need a fattier mince, for juicier cevapi. If you are buying mince from supermarkets you can buy a 500g beef mince packet and a 500g pork and veal/beef mince packet.
Adding water to cevapi, some may think it's crazy. I learnt while making polpete when we did our eating adventure in Poland, that adding water to mince makes it more juicy. You don't add water to saturate the meat, but you add just enough moisture where it is not dry, the meat feels plump, not wet. And as long as your frying pan is hot, your meat will not stew. I also add water to my sarme mince mixture. We have all had those dry unpleasant looking filled sarme, try adding water to the mince, it will be moist and juicy.
I pan fry them here in this recipe, but they are great on the barbecue also. You would grill them for about 8-10 minutes in total, turning to cook all sides over a medium heat.
These are easy to make, just follow the recipe, definitely worth making yourself as they are better than store bought.
Makes 18-20 cevapi
3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced in half
750g beef mince
250g pork mince
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
80ml water, extra
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1-2 tablespoons sunflower oil, for frying
Lepinje, to serve
Ajvar, to serve
Diced onions, to serve
Coleslaw, to serve, follow link for recipe, omit apple
Place the water and the garlic in a small saucepan, bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave to cool completely. The garlic will infuse flavour into the water. Once cooled, remove all of the garlic and discard. Keep the water.
In a large bowl add the mince, the cooled water, salt, pepper and paprika. Gently combine, cover and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
Day 2: The next day add water and bicarb to a small bowl, mix to combine. Now you will treat the mince like a dough. Gradually add the bicarb water to the mince and mix it in to the meat, kind of kneading it in, this takes about 20 minutes, you are done when all the bicarb mix is incorporated and the mixture is compact and does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
Now using damp hands, shape the mince into cevapi, finger like rolls, about 10-12cm long. They shrink on cooking, so you want to make them longer than you need.
Heat you frying pan over a high heat, your pan must get hot. I cook it in two batches to not overcrowd my pans, add in oil, place cevapi in your pan, leave a little space between each one. Fry for about 3 minutes. Turn cevapi over, decrease heat slightly if cooking too fast, cook a further 3 minutes. Turn on the side, place lid on frying pan, cook 2 minutes, again adjust heat if needed. Make final turn, cover pan and cook for 2 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve with lepinje, ajvar, diced onion, sour cream and coleslaw.
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