Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Slovenian Stew: Prekmurski Bograc

"Prekmurski Bograc." I literally Googled "Slavic stew" and this is what came up in my search. Actually, I Googled "Finnish stew" first, but had no luck finding what I was looking for. In Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Finland episode, Anthony ate this delicious stew made by a drunk local Finnish grandma. So in a kind of roundabout way, we end up in Slovenia-- because it's the closest thing I could find. This stew is cooked with a combination of pork, beef and venison. So I guess you can also call it a "Meat-Lovers Stew." And if we were in Slovenia right now, we'd probably be making this dish with reindeer or moose instead of deer.

We're not entirely sure what "Prekmurski Bograc" means, but here's a guess. We think Prekmurski refers to the region of Prekmurje in Slovenia. Bograc means "stew," or something close to that -- something slow cooked in a heavy pot. Our stew came out a little too thick because we didn't add enough water, but the directions below should work just fine for you.

And if you happen to be Slavic, we hope that we haven't offended you too much. We'd appreciate any tips or insights about this dish. Because after all, the language of food is universal. :-)

Servings: About 6 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 1/2 - 4 hours
Ingredients:
- 1/2 lb. beef stew meat, or chuck (something a little fatty)
- 1/2 lb. pork, any cheap cut you can find (not tenderloin)
- 1/2 lb. venison roast
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- oil or lard, for browning meat
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- 2 tbs. Hungarian paprika, or sweet paprika
- 1 lb. potatoes, sliced or cubed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (of course, fresh is always better)
- 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, slightly crushed with your fingers
- 3/4 cup red wine
- Kosher/sea salt, to taste

1. Remove any silver skin or tough tissues from venison, pork and beef. Cut all three meats into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Dab dry with paper towels and lightly sprinkle salt over all three. 

As you can see, our meat was quite lean. For best results, choose beef or pork with a little bit of fat on them. This will add better flavor and richness to your stew.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a Dutch oven, heat about 1 tbs. lard/oil over medium-high heat. Add 2 sliced onions to the pot. Sprinkle in some salt. Saute until translucent and slightly browned, stirring often. About 5-7 minutes.
Once done, move onions into a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat about another tablespoon of lard/oil to the Dutch oven. Brown beef. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook it in batches if you have to. 

Browning too much at once results in steaming instead of browning. You want that rich, brown caramelization color. That means flavor.
Once the beef browns, move it into a large bowl and set aside.

4. Do the same with the cubed venison. Add more oil/lard if necessary. Move it into the same bowl with the beef when browned.

5. Then brown the pork.
6. Once all the meat is cooked, de-glaze the pan with 3/4 cup of red wine, scraping off the bits at the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook for about 1 minute. 
 
7. Then return cooked onions into the Dutch oven with the wine.
Return all the meat.
8. Add sliced red bell pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp. of thyme, 1/2 tsp. of rosemary, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 2 tbs. of paprika, a generous pinch of salt and ground black pepper, to taste.



Hungarian Paprika = Awesome.
Add enough water to submerge all ingredients. Add tomatoes.

9. Cover Dutch oven and cook in a 350 degree F oven for 1-1/2 hours.
10. Then take the stew out of the oven and add potatoes. Add more water, as necessary. There should be 1 inch of liquid above the potatoes. This is where we made a boo-boo...

Cover and return to the oven. Bake for another 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until potatoes and meat are tender.
Add more salt and pepper, if necessary.

Serve with crusty bread and red wine.

This week's table wine. Or to some Europeans, "table booze."

We hope you will like this recipe. Thanks for visiting! 


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15 comments:

  1. Hallo, you can use a whole pepper, chopped to pieces. You can use also a green one for more colour. This pepper sholud not be hot.
    Than you may add 1 hot chilli pepper, if you want.
    And some chopped bulb of celery and 1 tea spoon of cumin (grinded.

    Regards from Slovenia. And prekmurski bograč is our national specialitiy. Prekmurje is one of our north - east regions.

    Bye :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think its great that someone from Slovenia commented on this. I do use these recipes to try out. Jut to let ya'll know someone is paying attention & appreciates all Ya'll do!!! Loved the Venison with onion sauce.

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    2. Wow! News travels fast. We have no idea how people from outside the US are finding us, but we are humbly delighted. Thank you both for the suggestions and comments. If we're entertaining and helping at least one person, we're doing what we set out to do.

      Thank you,
      Rick and Jen

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  2. Hi,
    I've just returned from a trip to Slovenia and the Balkans and waned to have a try at cooking Bograc. I searched the internet looking for a recipe that sounded right and had just about given up when I came across yours. Yesterday I made it, including the celery and the cumin, and it was delicious. Thank you for posting it.
    Rose, Australia

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear fellows,

    Hello from Slovenia!

    About this topic - “Prekmurski bograč” is first to say, that Bograč is a traditional Slovenian stew, prepared in kettle (in Prekmurje – region in N/E of Slovenia.
    Bograč was or is traditionally prepared in earthenware on open fire).

    Name Bograč came out of Hungarian word “bogracz”, that means ware, chained-hanged on a stand.

    The original recipe has some basic rules that should be followed for optimal result.

    First, for Bograč we need at least three different sorts of meat – beaf (stew meat), pork (shoulder) and venison - all of it in same amounts.
    We also need the amount of onion in weight of the meat (that's no mistake - mistake is to make it otherwise). That is very important, because otherwise the dish is not thick enough.

    The second important rule (and difference in comparison to other stews) is that in Bograč the potatoes are cooked together with the other ingredients.

    And now the recipe (for one kettle):

    2 lb. beef stew meat or chuck
    2 lb. venison stew meat
    2 lb. grams pork blade
    6 lb. onion (choped /sliced) -
    best is to take half of white and half of red onion, if available.
    3 lb. potatoes (sliced in same or larger pieces as meat)
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    Lard or oil (one cup - 250 ml) for browning onions -
    If taking sunflower oil, then is advisable to softly roast with the onions a little of small-flitched lightly smoked pork bacon.
    5 tbs. Hungarian paprika or red sweet paprika-powder (not spicy)
    1 cup of red wine - dry but not too heavy (also possible to take ½ red and ½ white wine, but both should be dry)
    6 Bay leafs, ½ tbs. thyme, ½ tbs. rosemary, 1 tbs. marjoram
    3-4 pinches of ground cumin
    2 pinches of nutmeg
    Grained black pepper
    Kosher/sea salt
    Hot pepperoni
    8 Cups (app. 2, 5 Litres) of Water or homemade bouillon

    How to prepare Prekmurski bograč

    Preparations:

    Wash the meat under cold water and chop it to pieces (app. 1 ounce – 40 grams each peace), mildly salt the beaf (just before but it in a kettle)

    Shell and chop the potatoes into pieces – same size or little larger as the meat (live it in cold water)

    Shell and chop the onions into smaller pieces (as usual for stews)

    Crush and chop the garlic into small pieces

    Prepare water or bouillon

    Make fire ;-)

    Drink something for your pleasure

    Bograč is prepared in copper kettle, on open fire. Important is that the cooking should be performed all the time on a slow fire.

    On lard slowly sauté the onions for 20 minutes till grow (became light brown). Often stir with a big ladle. Just before onions are ready, add a little of red wine to help the onions to “disintegrate”. After the wine is evaporated, add the beef meat and braise it. The meat will release some juices. After app. 15 minutes add the Hungarian paprika and water/bouillon in amount to cover all the ingredients in the kettle. Add some salt, black pepper, garlic, spices (bay leafs, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, ground cumin and nutmeg). Wait until all start lightly to boil again. Then add venison meat and after next 15 minutes the pork meat. After 20 minutes add chopped potatoes and cook all ingredients for 15 – 20 more minutes. Add white and red wine and cook it for 10-15 minutes.
    Enytime add some water/bouillon if the dish starts to thicken. Potatoes should add some density to the dish, so don’t be afraid to add water or bouillon on the start(after beef).

    Use salt and pepper anf hot pepperoni to your taste.

    Serve out of kettle, with or without pure rye- or wheat bread.
    If the dish will be reheated, do it slow and avoid the potatoes, if they hardened,

    ENJOY!

    Some pictures: http://www.slovenia.info/?recepti=8356&lng=1

    http://www.radgonainfo.com/novice/606/za-blagovno-znamko-bograciada--30-000-evrov

    (Sorry for my weak english...)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! Great tips. Thank you for taking the time to write to us. We appreciate your comments and advice. When we make this again, we will be sure to refer to your suggestions. It's amazing how you found our website from Slovenia. We are delighted to welcome you to our blog. Don't worry about your English. We understood it just fine. :-)

    Sincerely,
    Rick and Jen

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey,

    It's a pleasure! About Bograč, if you type the word into Google, your site is easy to find. So... because of the internet, the world is smaller and people (and topics) are easier to find.

    After I saw haw you have interpret this stew, I didn’t had any other choice then to make some suggestions. ;-)

    I wish you and your members/readers all the best! Come to visit our country … its beautiful (nut just nature, but also people, cuisine etc. are awesome)!

    Kind regards,

    Drago

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Drago,

      We'll put Slovenia on our to-do list. Happy eating! :-)

      Rick and Jen

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  6. Great recipe and discussion! I too found this by googling "bograc," a term I just learned from one of the vintage Slovenian/Yugoslav cookbooks I've been collecting. I'm American, of half Slovenian descent, have been doing a "roots" cooking project/blog since January of this year. Have made a couple of variants of goulash but this one seems to have a little something extra. Think I will be making this tonight :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found us, Blair! Make sure you utilize the tips from the comments above. Our commentators know what they're talking about!... Since they ARE Slovenian. :-)

      Happy cooking!

      -Rick and Jen

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  7. Okay, have made variants of bograč twice now,drawing on your suggestions, and finally posted (see below.) Cited and linked to your blog. Great stuff! (The recipe and the blog!)

    http://slovenianroots.blogspot.com/2012/09/slovenian-dinner-week-32-bograc-goulash.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. looks great. bograc is definitely the ultimate goulash. just one correction: there are no moose or reindeer in slovenia, but plenty of deer, rams, bears and other such wildlife.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thiese topics and article are so information based.This is so interesting blog. You are best listing knowledge provide at this site. I am very excited read this nice article. This is great and important elements in the modern world that mean Marjoram Ground.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I changed your recipe a bit by using a large can of crushed tomatoes instead of a fresh one and I used hot smoked Hungarian paprika. It turned out excellent! Thank you for posting the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear, Scott! These recipes are for you to make them as you wish. That's the great thing about cooking. It's not an exact science and allows for all sorts of combinations and flavors. We just hope to be able to give our readers new ideas to get them on their way to cooking wild game. Thank you very much for following our blog!

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