Croatian Čobanac is a traditional meat stew that was cooked in a cauldron hung over an open fire – now we show you how to cook it at home.
Čobanac or Čorbanac or even Pastirac is a slow-cooked stew traditionally prepared in the eastern part of Croatia, especially in Slavonija and Baranja.
The name comes from the shepherds as they are called “Čoban” or “Pastir.” It’s prepared with 2-3 different types of meat such as wild game, pork, or beef. It’s initially made in a big kettle over a campfire.
As Baranja is famous for the extensive fields of red paprika, either sweet and hot ones, this dish is the best representation of how tasty that spice can be. Paprikas are usually picked up when fully ripe and dried, and crushed in a fine powder, as you can find in the supermarkets.
Čobanac is so popular that you can also find organized competitions for chefs who want to win the glory of making the best stew! One very famous competition is called “Požeški kotlić” where more than 40 contestants are preparing their čobanac and trying to win the title.
This dish was once only served with crusty bread, although nowadays it is modern to make some sort of dumplings to go with them – I stand by the tradition and only ever serve fresh bread with my čobanac.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it’s usually cooked on an open fire, but as I live in a small apartment with only a stove, I will give you a recipe that works very well for all conditions, so there is no need to drag your cauldron out of the basement!
Croatian Čobanac is a traditional meat stew which was cooked in a cauldron hung over an open fire - now we show you how to cook it at home.
- 1.5 kg meat (3.3 lbs) make a mix of pork, beef & or wild game meat
- 500 g onion (17.5 oz)
- 350 g carrot (12 oz)
- 75 g parsley root (2.6 oz)
- 2 Tbls. sweet red paprika powder
- 1 Tbls. hot red paprika powder
- 5 Tbls. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbls. salt
- 5 L water (1 gallon)
- 2-3 Pickled hot peppers
- 300 g conserved mushrooms (10.5 oz)
- Clean and chop the onion in very small pieces
- Saute the onions in vegetable oil on very light heat for at least 30 minutes. Stir them often, and watch over the pot so they do not burn. If you like you can add a small amount of water after 5-6 minutes just to be sure nothing burns
- Peel the carrots and grate the parsley root very fine with a grater. Add it to the onions and continue to saute for around 45 minutes. It needs to almost turn into a paste
- Now is time to add paprika powder, stir it well into the vegetables
- Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and add it to the pot, firstly wild game meat, after 5 minutes beef meat and after another 5 minutes pork meat. Leave it cooking until browned. Put salt over the meat and veggies and stir it well
- For this amount of ingredients, you will need around 5 liters of water, add the first liter and continue to sauté for around 1 hour
- Now add the remaining water and continue to cook for one more hour. In the last half of hour add the mushrooms and hot peppers if like
As you may see this is one slow-cooked stew and you will need around 3 hours of your time to prepare it but it's definitely worth of it. Serve while still hot with few pieces of bread.
I would like to recommend you a glass of cold beer or some fine Croatian white wine such as a Rajnski Rizling.