My heritage is such an important part of the woman I have become. I am so proud of my Bosnian roots. Despite moving half-way across the country, away from mama’s Bosnian cooking, I am trying to keep my culture an important part of my life. I even have Andrew learning Bosnian phrases so that he can converse with my extended family when he gets to meet them. If you have seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” then you can understand how much can get lost in translation. Andrew learning Bosnian has become the focus of my phone calls with my grandmothers overseas. I am seriously looking forward to watching the interaction between my 80 year-old, non-English speaking grandmother and the deer in head lights look I will be getting from Andrew.
Despite my move across the country, I am continuing to finesse my Bosnian cooking skills –which means phone calls, Facetime sessions, and texts with mama to ensure that I do justice by traditional dishes. Thank goodness for 21st century technology–I would not be patient enough to wait for a letter containing my childhood recipes.
I have debated what Bosnian dish will be the first one I post to Bon Appeteek. At first I was planning on blogging about Zeljanica (Translated Spanakopita or Spinach Pie), but the Phyllo dough I purchased was too dry and did not make the prettiest pie. Chalk it up as a blog fail in terms of aesthetics, but it still tasted pretty fabulous. I promise I will post the recipe for Zeljanica soon!
In the meantime, if you haven’t noticed from my limited blog posts thus far, it’s been getting chillier in Seattle and with the end of Daylight Savings yesterday, it is also exceptionally dark out early in the evening. Perfect stew weather. Grašak (pea stew, pronounced grah-SHAK) and buranija (green bean stew, pronounced BU-ron-i-YAH) are two of my favorite childhood Bosnian dishes. They are hearty and I associate them with comfort food.
Grašak is easy to make and a great way to get your veggies in, even during the winter months. I use frozen peas to minimize the preservatives and sodium that’s in canned vegetables. I love the sweetness of the carrots and peas, the starch from the potatoes, and the addition of dill really pulls the recipe together. Dill is an additive to soups/stews in a lot of traditional Bosnian and other Eastern European countries’ cuisines.
My favorite part of cooking is experiencing different cultures through taste. Take a bite out of Bosnia with this childhood favorite of mine.
I normally do not include pictures of Teek drooling over the food, but this picture was just too priceless. That is a dog that knows whatever is cooking is damn good.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
1/2 a yellow onion
1 lb beef stew meat
2 cloves garlic
1 large carrot
1 russet potato
16 oz bag frozen petite peas
2 C water
1 T tomato paste
1 t dried dill
Cracked pepper and sea salt to taste (Optional: 1 t Vegeta in place of salt)
- Prepare the veggies: Mince the garlic cloves, dice the onion, peel the potato and cube into small pieces (Size of a Starburst candy), peel the carrot and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.
- In a 3-quart sauce pan or medium-sized stockpot, over medium-high heat cook onion and garlic and brown the beef (~7 minutes).
- Add the carrot, potato, frozen peas, water, tomato paste, and dill to the pot. Stir well so tomato paste distributes. Place lid on pot and allow to come to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and allow stew to simmer ~20 minutes.
- Check for doneness by piercing a potato with a fork, if tender then stew is done cooking.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.