Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

This weekend I caught up with my aunts and grandmothers in Bosnia (via this awesome little piece of technology called Magic Jack…look it up if you have family overseas).  And majka, my mama’s mama, asked me if I have been making Bosnian food for Andrew.  Of course I told a white lie and said yes, but I will be the first to admit (to you all, not to majka) I have been slacking on cooking Bosnian food.

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

So with a slightly guilty conscience I was inspired to make a one of my childhood favorite stews: buranija (boo-raani-yah).  I did not want to fuss over the meat I used in the stew.  Traditionally, beef stew meat or chicken thighs/wings are used.  I wanted minimal effort, with a tasty end result.  I always keep frozen turkey meatballs on-hand for these lazy chef emergencies.  Usually, I do enjoy making my own meatballs, but it was a week night and I just wanted a one-pot, 30-minute meal.

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

The starch from the potatoes will thicken the stew, you can always add extra water to thin the consistency if that is what you prefer. 

This stew is very similar to grašak (the pea stew I have previously posted on here).  Whenever people ask me what Bosnian food is like the answer is: stews, pita (savory pies), Ćevapi (grilled kebabs), and lamb.  Stews are a staple in bosnian cuisine.

Buranija (Green Bean Stew)

Enjoy this little piece of my heritage the next time you’re looking for a quick, hearty meal for your family.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players:

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, rinsed and sliced (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick)
12 oz frozen cut green beans
10-12 frozen turkey meatballs
2 1/2 C water
1 T tomato paste
1/2 t smoked paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried dill
salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 t Vegeta in place of salt)
optional garnish: 1 T fresh chopped parsley

The Rules: 

  1. Heat 1 oil in a dutch oven or stockpot on medium-high heat then add onions and carrots and cook until onion is translucent ~3 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except optional parsley) and stir well.  Bring the stew to a boil, and reduce heat setting to medium.  Replace lid on pot and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Let the stew cool for 10-15 minutes before eating.  Garnish with optional parsley.

Grašak (Pea Stew)

Grašak (Pea Stew)

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.

Grašak (Pea Stew)

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 (Pea Stew)

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.

Grašak (Pea Stew)

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.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 
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)

The Rules:

  1. 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.
  2. In a 3-quart sauce pan or medium-sized stockpot, over medium-high heat cook onion and garlic and brown the beef (~7 minutes).
  3. 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.
  4. Check for doneness by piercing a potato with a fork, if tender then stew is done cooking.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.