Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH for short, is located in Southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. It declared sovereignty in October 1991 and independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992. The country’s name comes from the two regions Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have a very vaguely defined border between them. Bosnia occupies the northern areas which are roughly four-fifths of the entire country, while Herzegovina occupies the rest in the southern part of the country. The name “Bosnia” comes from an Indo-European word Bosana, which means water. (There are 7 major rivers and over 100 lakes).
The town of Međugorje located in the mountains near Mostar has been popular with Catholic pilgrims since 1981, when six local children claimed they had seen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Over 1 million people make the pilgrimage each year. The name Međugorje literally means “between mountains”.
Perućica is one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, located near the border with Montenegro and part of the Sutjeska National Park. The tallest measured Norway Spruce (63 m) is located here.
According to the Guinness book of records the largest fish stew ever made, weighed 3,804 kg was by the Tourist Organisation of the Municipality of Prnjavor in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 19 August 2014. However in April 2015, a dozen Bosnian chefs from Sarajevo outperformed the record by making a traditional stew weighing 4,124 kg. It took 8 hours and served 15,000 portions. The record has not yet been verified by a Guinness World Records committee.
Some of the traditional Bosnian dishes I came across, other than enormous stews, included Zeljanica (spinach and feta pie), Begova Čorba (Bosnian soup), Grašak (pea stew), Sarma (meat and rice rolled in pickled cabbage leaves) and Krofna (filled doughnuts). I decided to make Ćevapi (meat kebabs) which were fairly simple but needed a good amount of seasoning which the recipe I followed had omitted to include, so ours were rather bland. I’ve adjusted the recipe below to include more seasoning.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 tbsp butter
1⁄2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
250g lean lamb mince
250g lean beef mince
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp onions, finely chopped
4-6 pitta breads
Melt the butter over medium heat, add the onions and fry until translucent
Add the garlic for a few minutes whilst stirring to prevent burning. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes
Mix the ground lamb, ground beef., the cooled onion/garlic mixture, egg white, paprika, salt and pepper and mix well.
Shape the meat into unappetizing looking little cylinders, which are the traditional shape
Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least one hour
Pan fry the cevapi in a little olive oil until nicely browned, about 8 – 10 minutes
To serve, toast the pitta, then cut in half and make a pocket in each one
Stuff a few finely chopped onions inside the pita, then add the cevapi and top with a few more of the onions