Slovenian recipes

Many have made the mistake that music is the greatest way to bridge cultures, while others have said that art is the great 'translator'. Lesser souls even consider football to be where peoples clash... and meet.

All wrong, of course. It's food, glorious food.

What have human beings the world over done to welcome strangers into their midst (apart from taking pot-shots at them)? Offered their best, local food. Which is what we are now going to do for you: offer you the best way to prepare our local food. The first drop-down panel contains recipes for many traditional, local dishes. They are invariably quite easy to prepare and the ingredients available in most large supermarkets or farmer's markets.

Of course, being Slovene Dream, we like to show you the very best: the rest of the recipes have been given to us by the best chefs in the best hotels and restaurants around Slovenia.

Enjoy.

Goveja Juha (pron. Goveya Yooha) - Beef soup

Served in just about every home, gostilna and restaurant in Slovenia, this deeply satisfying clear broth gets straight to the point of being nutritiously delicious. A must for the beginning of a family Sunday lunch.

Beef soup

Serves 6

  • 3 orange carrots
  • 3 yellow carrots
  • 1 parsley root
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt, to taste
  • 1kg beef
  • 1kg beef bones
  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 2l water

Preparation

Melt the lard in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat. Add the vegetables and meat, and stir until they start to brown (heavy browning is not good here). Add the water, peppercorns, bay leaf and salt and bring almost to the boil (to keep the soup clear). Simmer gently for two hours, clearing any scum that forms on the surface.

To Serve

Gently lift the larger peices of soup stuff out of the saucepan, then strain the broth into a soup tureen - in which you have placed some cooked soup noodles (not many jews in Slovenia, but kosher are the best) and a huge pinch of finely-chopped parsley.


Jota (pron. Yotta) - Bean and sauerkraut soup

The kind of soup that does to humans what those local wood-fired stoves do in the Slovenian winter: provides a glowing warmth and a feeling of lazy well-being. The best sauerkraut (kisla zelje) can be bought on stalls in the market in Ljubljana... but bottled will do (Polish is very good).

Jota

Serves 6

  • 500g borlotti beans, soaked in water for 12 hours
  • 400g waxy potatoes
  • 300g smoked pork belly, bacon or ham hock
  • 400g sauerkraut
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp lard
  • salt, to taste

Preparation

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until they are done, at which point strain them... but keep the water! At the same time, drain and rinse the beans, then cook on boiling water for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. Drain the beans... but keep the water! In a large soup saucepan, gently fry the onions and porky-worky in the lard until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for a further 5 minutes. Slowly add about 0.5l water, stirring constantly so that you get a nice lump-less consistency. Add the beans, potatoes and sauerkraut, plus the water they were cooked in, followed by the bay leaf and garlic. Salt to taste (but go careful: the soup will become saltier while cooking). Bring to the boil and simmer - stirring often - for 30-40 minutes, or until the soup becomes pleasantly thick.


Bograč (pron. Bograch) - Game stew with potatoes and paprika

From the north east of Slovenia, this hearty dish is heavily influenced by Hungarian cuisine. When served in local restaurants, it often comes in a little pot, suspended over a candle flame. You can definitely dispense with this at home!

Bograč

Serves 8

  • 300g streaky bacon, diced
  • 500g beef, cubed (shin, chuck or stewing is best)
  • 500g wild boar, cubed (organic pork will do)
  • 400g onions (white or red)
  • 2 large red peppers, cut into large dice
  • 800g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika (spanish is excellent)
  • Large pinch caraway seeds
  • 1 bay leaf

Preparation

Heat a little olive oil in a large soup saucepan and gently fry the bacon and onions, stirring often. After about 6-8 minutes, when the onions should be soft (not brown), add the peppers and continue to cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Add the meat and paprika, stir over a highish heat for a minute or two, then add enough hot water to just cover the meat. Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat down and simmer for about one hour. Add the potatoes, garlic, caraway seeds, bay leaf, tomato puree and salt. Replace the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked. Season to taste and serve hot.


Regratova Solata - Dandelion salad

During the late springtime, you can see eager Slovenians dotted about the countryside, bent double and getting serious backache. It took me a while to find out the connection between that strange phenomenon and the delicious salads I was happily munching through. Fresh, yound dandelion leaves are very highly prized in this part of the world... and the great thing is, they're only available wild.
If you are going hunting and gathering, choose plants with serrated leaves and white shoots - they will be the most tender.

Regratova

Serves 6

  • 500g young dandelion leaves
  • 2 waxy, medium-sized potatoes, boiled and thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 3 rashers streaky bacon
  • 1-2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • salt 'n' pepper

Preparation

Pick through the dandelion leaves, discarding the stems and choosing only the most tender leaves. Place them in a salad bowl, along with the potatoes and eggs. Fry the bacon until it is nice a crispy - remove from the pan and crumble into the salad, along with the rendered fat. Add olive oil, vinegar and season to taste. Toss and serve.
Note that traditionaly, the salad dressing is topsy-turvey: more vinegar than oil, as the tart dressing needs to stand up to the bitterness of the salad leaves.


Ričet (pron. Richet) - Barley soup

The soup of the workers: if you've been toiling in the fields, sweating in the steel works or working in the pits, this is the soup for you. It's also quite good if you're a bit peckish.

Ričet

Serves 8

  • 200g dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight
  • 1kg pork - a mix of loin, hock, smoked ham, feet etc
  • 200g barley
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns
  • salt 'n' pepper

Preparation

Drain the beans, then cover in cold water and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until they are cooked through, removing any scum that forms on the surface. Remove from the heat and drain. Place the meat in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and broil almost to the boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the meat is tender - again, removing any scum that forms. Remove the meat from the pot and place on a chopping board. Add the barley, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt to the pork broth. Cook over a medium heat until the barley is cooked - between 20 and 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice and chop the meat. Add the beans to the soup and cook for a further 5 minutes or so. Finally season to taste, add the meat and serve.


Pražen krompir (pron. Prazhen krompeer) - Sauteed Potatoes... kinda

Those of you UK citizens with long memories and nothing better to do, might remember the The Association for the Recognition of Sauté Potatoes with Onions as a Main Dish being featured on Have I Got News for You. Yes, it really does exist, they have a festival every year and they have an anthem:

Sweet is the wine
And cold is the beer,
But the best of all is
Pražen krompir

It is not butter
not fruit, nor deer,
It is, my friends
Pražen krompir

All sorts of food
Cost our health dear,
But only goodness comes from
Pražen krompir

We are all gathered
to find our peace here,
For we are united in
Pražen krompir

Trans: Bob Burgher, Darinka Bunjevac

Why? Because it's fantastic... when it's done right. If you're lucky, you may see one of the society's representatives (as below) stirring a huge pan of potatoes in the street. Get in line.

Pražen Krompir

Serves 6

  • 1kg waxy potatoes, peeled.
  • 5 tbsp lard
  • 2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
  • 100-200ml beef broth (see beef soup)
  • salt 'n' pepper

Preparation

Cook the potatoes on boiling, salted water until just tender - about 20 minutes. Drain, cool and slice. Heat the lard in a heavy, cast-iron frying pan and cook the onions at a low to medium heat, until soft and translucent. Add the sliced potatoes to the pan and cook for a further fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a sprinkling of hot beef broth every few minues. You'll know when it's done, as you won't be able to stop your hand bringing the wooden spoon to the vicinity of your mouth.


More recipes will be appearing here, as and when we get around to adding them.

In the meantime, if you want any advice (or want to give any, of course) about Slovenian recipes, ingredients, restaurants etc., drop us a line on the Enquiries page.

Duck and Porcini canapés

Borut Pugelj - CUBO, Ljubljana

CUBO: Duck canapés

Serves 4-6

  • 300g duck breast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 150g porcini
  • half an onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • crusty white bread, sliced
  • olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • sprigs of thyme, to serv

Preparation

Bake the duck breast: Preheat the oven to 180C. Salt the duck breast and pan-grill on a medium/high heat with 1 tsp olive oil (2-3 minutes skin side first, then turn for 1 minute). Remove from the pan and place on a baking tray. Brush the skin side with honey and bake for 6-8 minutes (the centre should remain pink).

Grill the porcini: Slice the mushrooms. Finely chop then sauté the onions in butter for 2-3 minutes. Add the porcini and gently fry for about 5 minutes - season to taste. Add thyme and finely-chopped garlic, fry for a further 30 seconds then remove from the heat.

To serve

Make crostini by placing a sprig of thyme on each slice of bread, then placing in a very little olive oil in a hot grill pan, until golden brown. Meanwhile, slice the duck breast to about 6mm thickness. Place a crostini on each plate, followed by a helping of porcini and a slice or two of duck. Decorate with shavings of Parmesan cheese and a sprig of fresh thyme.


More recipes will be appearing here, as and when we get around to adding them.

In the meantime, if you want any advice about Slovenian recipes, ingredients, restaurants etc., drop us a line on the Enquiries page.

Horseradish Soup with Apples and Ham

Borut Pugelj - CUBO, Ljubljana

CUBO: Hprseradish soup

Serves 6

  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 50g kohlrabi
  • 2 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 tbsp finely-chopped garlic
  • 1200ml water
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tbsp grated horseradish
  • 100g cooked ham

Preparation

Chop the onion and fry it in butter. Chop and add vegetables and parsley, plus salt and pepper. Sauté on a medium heat for five minutes, add garlic and water. Simmer for about twenty minutes. Add cubed apple and horseradish. Puree with a hand blender and pass through a strainer to get the soup silky smooth.

To serve

Pour the soup into bowls. Dice and briefly fry the ham in a very little butter and add to the soup.

 


More recipes will be appearing here, as and when we get around to adding them.

In the meantime, if you want any advice about Slovenian recipes, ingredients, restaurants etc., drop us a line on the Enquiries page.

 

Seafood Risotto with Chanterelles

Uroš Intihar, Cubo, Ljubljana

CUBO: Seafood risotto

Serves 6

  • 1100ml fish stock
  • 150g cooked octopus
  • 150g raw squid
  • 250g chanterelles
  • 150g raw prawns
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 400g risotto rice (Vialone Nano for preference)
  • pinch of saffron, steaped in a little hot water
  • 70g cold butter
  • 4 tbsp chopped rocket
  • olive oil

Preparation

Octopus, squid and chanterelles (start this just as you start adding stock to the risotto, so that you can add them immediately at the appropriate time): Grill the octopus and squid (cut into bite-sized chunks) with a little olive oil, in a grill pan. When done, transfer to a warm bowl.
In the same pan, fry the mushrooms in a little more olive oil - scraping up the bits from the cephalopods - until they release their juices. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Return the squid and octopus to the hot pan to warm through.

Risotto: Heat the stock in a saucepan on a burner at the back of the stove, so that it is available to add to the rice (ensure you have a ladle ready in the pan). Finely chop the onion and gently saute in oil and tbsp butter for about ten minutes (be careful NOT to brown it), then add the prawns and cook for a another two minutes. Add chopped garlic and stir for a further minute.
Add rice, increase heat and stir for about a minute. Add wine and salt and pepper, turn down the heat to minimum and stir until most of the wine evaporates. Ladle over enough stock to just cover the rice, then stir constantly with a wooden spoon until most of the liquid has evaporated. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked - al dente: about 15-18 minutes. About halfway through, add the octopus, squid and chanterelles. Towards the end of cooking taste for seasoning and done-ness of the rice (there should be a little 'bite' left in the centre of each grain). If there is more stock left when the rice is done, discard it. If, on the other hand, you need more liquid, use boiling water (good to have some ready in the kettle).
When it is done, remove the risotto from the heat, stir in the saffron water, rocket and beat in the cold butter. Cover and leave for 2 minutes.

A good way of checking the correct consistency of risotto, is that it should flow like hot lava: there should be no separate liquid, but equally, the rice grains should not be dry.

 


More recipes will be appearing here, as and when we get around to adding them.

In the meantime, if you want any advice about Slovenian recipes, ingredients, restaurants etc., drop us a line on the Enquiries page.

 

Lamb shanks with Mediterranean potatoes

Denis Grubar - CUBO, Ljubljana

CUBO: Lamb shanks

Serves 6

  • 6 lamb shanks
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 bunch marjoram
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic, pealed and slightly crushed
  • 1kg waxy potatoes
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 20 olives (black/green mix)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • olive oil
  • to serve: sprigs of rosemary and thyme

Preparation

Lamb shanks: Place the shanks, wine, herbs, peppercorns and garlic into a pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover the shanks to half their height. Close the cooker and cook on a low/medium heat for 1.5-2 hours.

Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 180C. Peel and cube the potatoes and cook in boiling water until done (about 20 minutes). Drain and place on a baking tray. Add olive oil, salt, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers and herbs. Bake for 10 minutes.

To finish: Remove the lamb shanks from the pressure cooker and place among the potatoes - strain the cooking juices and add. Bake for a further 10 minutes.

 


More recipes will be appearing here, as and when we get around to adding them.

In the meantime, if you want any advice about Slovenian recipes, ingredients, restaurants etc., drop us a line on the Enquiries page.

Still waiting for chefs to post 'em in. Soon come.


More recipes will be appearing here, as and when we get around to adding them.

In the meantime, if you want any advice about Slovenian recipes, ingredients, restaurants etc., drop us a line on the Enquiries page.

Still waiting for chefs to post 'em in. Soon come.


More recipes will be appearing here, as and when we get around to adding them.

In the meantime, if you want any advice about Slovenian recipes, ingredients, restaurants etc., drop us a line on the Enquiries page.

 

 

Ingredients


Slovenia (unlike barbaric England) still follows the seasons, so that local recipes change and develop as the year flows by. Most of the ingredients specified in our recipes can be sourced in all temperate(ish) countries, so you have no excuse not to try one or two here.