Skip to main content

Cooking Around the World: Pljeskavica {Montenegro}


We are plowing ahead in our Cooking Around the World Adventure, taking full advantage of longer summer evenings and lack of homework and a schedule. I have to catch up on the blogging part of the process, so forgive me as I skip ahead a few countries. It's just that this meal rated so highly with my boys, I figured I'd go here first.

But, I need to write a disclaimer. Throughout this adventure, my goal has been to teach the boys about different countries and their culinary traditions; it has not been about creating wholly traditional dishes. We improvise. A lot. And that was another goal - to give my kitchen elves some creative license, to experiment with herbs and spices, to get inventive. And, boy, did Kitchen Elf 2...he went to town with this dish.

Let's start with the country: Montenegro. For much of the 20th century Montenegro was a part of Yugoslavia; from 2003 to 2006 it was a component of the federated union of Serbia and Montenegro. That explains why we couldn't find it in either of our atlases; both were published in 1997. I told the boys, "maybe it's such a new country, it's not in here as its own nation." We did find it...as part of Yugoslavia.

The country’s names—both Montenegro (from Italian) and Crna Gora—denote “Black Mountain,” in reference to Mount Lovćen. Looking at it, along the horizon, we read, it's a dark mountain that appears to reach the top of the sky.

National identity is in continued controversy - between Montenegrins and Serbs. Both groups retain their Orthodox religious traditions and share many common cultural attributes, including the Cyrillic alphabet. Because of such obvious commonalities, most Serbs see Montenegrins as “Mountain Serbs,” and many—but not all—Montenegrins view themselves as Serb in origin.

When researching foods, we just had to make pljeskavica. Think big, flavorful burgers; click here to read "The Balkan Burger Unites All Factions" that appeared in the New York Times a couple of years ago. Perfect! Right up our meat-loving alley.


Okay, remember...non-traditional! Curry is his favorite spice.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey (traditionally they use lamb, but the boys aren't huge lamb eaters)
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 3 T fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 T paprika (we used a Hungarian version)
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 T curry powder
  • pink Himalaya salt



Pljeskavica are formed from ground meat and the word pljeskavica comes from pljesak, a regional word for clapping the hands, the motion used to press the burger into a thin round. See Dylan [right] pljesak-ing to make our patties.

He mixed the meat and spices together for a looooong time. Then he formed 6 giant patties out of the 2 pounds of meat.

Then he and Jake grilled them. I didn't have anything to do with that portion of the cooking. I asked. I think he said something about 350 degrees on the gas grill...I don't know. Ours were done medium to medium-well.


To dress it up...

Montenegrins have a red pepper relish called ajvar - a mixture of red pepper and eggplant. I had some red pepper hummus, so we went with that. And some crumbled ricotta salata. Then we topped it all with fresh pomegranate arils and washed it all down with sparkling pomegranate juice because pomegranate trees are ubiquitous in Montenegro.




This is not your grandmother's pljeskavica. Sorry. But it was delicious and I have succeeded in supporting Dylan's culinary creativity. He was so thrilled with his dinner!

Morocco is next on our list. I've already cooked Morocco, several times in fact, so I'm undecided. We could make some of the foods we loved from there again. Or I can blog it and move on. I'll keep you posted. This Global Table Ambassador is signing off for now.

Comments

  1. I am really enjoying this series and learning along with your boys! Its so fun!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Lamskoteletten op zijn oud-Hollands for #TheBookClubCookbookCC

Here we are at April's #thebookclubcookbookCC event. It's hard to believe that we only have three more months in this year-long journey to explore - and cook from -  The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors  by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.* Judy, Vicki, and their publisher,  Tarcher-Penguin ,  have provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. Woohoo. Incredibly generous. This month Sarah at  Things I Make (for Dinner)  has selected  Girl With a Pearl Earring  by Tracy Chevalier.** Click to read  Sarah's invitation . She shared the recipe for Griet's Vegetable Soup, but invited us to find inspiration in any of the pages. On the Page... While the boys were playing around the lake during our week in Tahoe earlier in the month, I stayed by the fire and finished this book in one sitting. Loved it. photo by R

Pistachio Dukkah for #HandCraftedEdibles

In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones, or things to serve at holiday parties. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule:  here . This week, we are "going nuts" and sharing all sorts of recipes with nuts. Think spiced nuts or nutty fruit cake or whatever floats your nutty boat! Here's what we're posting this week... Amy's Cooking Adventures  shared her Salted Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookaholic Wife  cooked up Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds Making Miracles  made Honey Roasted Almonds Christmas Tree Lane  posted Crockpot Spiced Nuts A Day in the Life on the Farm  wrote about the Easiest Nut Brittle in the World Sew You Think You Can Cook  prepared Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds Culinary Adventur