Cobanac is a Shepherd's stew, it would feed the shepherds after a long day of herding or farming.
Now this is made using three different meats, pork and beef are common, but the third meat is usually a game meat like venison or boar, something hunted and caught. This is where our goat came in, not quite a game meat, but it was different. You could use lamb instead of goat. Pig trotters are added as they make the stew thick and delicious. If you don't want to add them that's your choice, this is a recipe that can be adjusted to different tastes.
The dish is cooked over several hours, and it is one that should only be made when you have lots of time and you feel like cooking. Most stews you get things in a pot and let it simmer away. This one things get added at different stages and you need to be by the pot for quite some time, stirring, adding, stirring etc.
The end result is a delicious stew, it is full of flavour, thick and hearty. I served it with dumplings, but you could just serve it with a good crusty Italian bread.
This is a recipe that can be made in advance, it is even better the next day. You could cook it on the weekend so you have midweek meals ready, just reheat. It will keep in the fridge for 3 days, though it never lasts that long in my house. Do not add the noklice if you are making this a day ahead, they should go in on the day of eating the stew.
If you like to cook and want to try something traditionally Croatia, you should give this a try.
For the meat:
500g goat meat (from the leg)
500g beef chuck steak
500g pork shoulder (or neck)
1-2 pig trotters, halved
For the marinade:
Divide all ingredients equally into 3 large bowls
3 carrots, peeled, roughly chopped, divided
1 leek, roughly chopped, divided
1 large stick celery, roughly chopped, divided
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, divided
3/4 teaspoon white pepper, divided
6 fresh or 3 dried bay leaves, divided
6 tablespoons sunflower oil, divided
3 tablespoons mustard, divided
For the stew:
2 tablespoons olive oil or lard
600g onions, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
600ml water, divided
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
2-3 fresh or 1 dried bay leaves
1.5 litres water
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
150ml dry white wine
For the stock:
1 litre water
vegetables from the marinade
250ml tomato passata
1 tablespoon ajvar
200g plain flour
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
salt, to taste
water, as needed
Start the recipe the day before you need to cook it.
Cut all three types of meat into equal bite sized pieces. Place each type of meat into a separate bowl. Place the pig trotters in the pork bowl.
Divide all the marinade ingredients equally between these three bowls. Give each bowl are good mix to combine all the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap, I like to use a black marker and write what meat is what on the plastic on the bowl. Place each bowl in the fridge for 12-24 hours, I like to do it overnight.
The next day, in a large heavy bottomed pot, add the oil (or lard), add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, season with a good pinch of salt, this will allow the onion to release its juices. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring regularly for 45 minutes, gradually adding water, if needed, if it is sticking to the pot, you want the onions to disintegrate.
While the onion is cooking, take out the goat meat and place it on a plate. Place all the marinade vegetables into another medium-large sized pot.
When the onions are ready, add the goat meat to the pot, season with a good pinch salt, and simmer until it releases its juices, it takes about 5 minutes, stir regularly.
While the goat is cooking, take the pig trotters out of the pork bowl.
Now add the first 300ml of the water to the goat, add the pig trotters, the hot paprika and bay leaves, simmer until all the liquid evaporates from the pot.
While the pig trotters are cooking, take the beef pieces out of the bowl and place it on a plate. Place all the marinade vegetables with the other vegetables in the medium-large sized pot.
When there is no more liquid left, add the beef to the goat pot, season with a pinch of salt and simmer until it releases it's juices, about 5 minutes, stir regularly. Add the remaining 300ml water and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated.
While the beef is cooking, take the pork pieces out of the bowl and place it on a plate. Place all the marinade vegetables with the other vegetables in the medium-large sized pot.
Again when the liquid is gone, add the pork meat, season with salt and simmer until it releases it's juices, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile to your vegetables in your other pot add 1 litre water, bring to the boil. When the carrots are soft, about 10 minutes, test with a fork, add the passata and the the ajvar. Blitz with a stick blender until thick.
Pour the vegetable stock into the stew. Add an additional 1.5 litres of water, the wine and the sweet paprika, simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile make the noklice: In a bowl add the flour, eggs, oil and salt. Give it a mix. Now add in 2 tablespoons of water, mix. Keeping adding water a tablespoon at a time until you get a smooth thick pancake batter consistency, (I added an additional 4 tablespoons of water). Set aside, until needed.
In the last 10 minutes of cooking the stew add the noklice-place a spoon into your stew to heat up, now place a small amount of the dough onto your spoon and drop the dough into the stew by putting the dough and spoon into the simmering stew, the dough will slide off and this way the spoon stays hot, repeat until all the dough is used up, simmer for about 10 minutes or until the noklice are cooked through.
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