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How To Make Croatian Ričet s Grahom (Barley Stew With Beans)
Ričet is a dish made of beans and barley, traditionally prepared with some kind of smoked meat, such as ribs, or sausages and bacon. However, in Croatian cuisine, this name has become familiar, so barley itself is often called ričet.
This generous and really comforting meal is most often prepared in winter and would not exist without barley. It is a purpose that has nourished many large and small cultures – from Ethiopians, Egyptians, and used by the ancient Chinese for ten thousand years. The Egyptians were the first to use barley to make beer but also barley malt, and in China, it was a symbol of manhood and strength.
Even Greek athletes and soldiers ate porridge and barley bread, which made them so powerful. The most interesting historical fact comes from the martial arts arena – the ancient Greeks often called hordeers – ‘those who eat barley’!
In Croatia, it’s considered to be a “poor food” as it used to be made in the villages and by families with lots of members. Now-days it gets it’s deserved attention so you can even find it in the restaurants in the inner parts of Croatia.
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 250 g of barley porridge
- 2 l water
- 2 large sausages (or other dried meat as you prefer)
- 1 small can of white beans
- 1 small can of red beans
- salt,& pepper
- bay leaf
- red ground paprika
How To Make Ričet
We start with finely chopping the onions and saute them in oil when the onion becomes translucent, add the diced carrots, which should also be fried for a short time. Add the washed barley porridge to the pot, cover with water and simmer over low heat for around one and a half hours.
Season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaf. I like to add quite a big amount of pepper as it goes really well with this dish.
At the very end, add the drained beans and the dried meat, sausage, bacon (or whatever meat you have on hand or prefer). I have used my favorite sausages that I have cut in slices before putting inside the pot.
Finally make a light roux of flour, oil and red sweet ground paprika with which you will thicken the barley stew. Pour the roux inside and mix it so it incorporates in the stew.
Optional: add large tablespoons of ajvar at the and for some more flavor.
Serve while hot with some fresh salad such as lettuce and with bread if you like.