Ćevapčići (also called Ćevapi in Serbia) is a popular Serbian and Croatian dish of paprika flavored minced meat made into a skinless sausage. Originally introduced by the Turks to the Balkan countries during the Ottoman Empire, cevapi first appeared on the streets of Belgrade in the 1860’s and soon spread across Yugoslavia and through other Eastern European countries. During the middle ages they were served like kabobs and cooked over an open flame. Today they are also popular in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia, where they are commonly served with mustard, chopped raw onions and potatoes.
Daniela and Jaro served these succulent little sausages for lunch while I was visiting them in Pazova this past spring. Daniela served the them with a pretty bouquet of green onions and sweet peppers on the table in place of flowers, and each person took a small knife and sliced the onions and peppers onto their plate. The sausage were really delicious served with the onions and peppers and can also be served with ajvar – the roasted red pepper sauce I recently wrote about, as well as sour cream, cottage cheese and tomatoes.
The cevapi can be wrapped in a slice of crusty white bread, kifle or in Serbian lepinje bread, a yeast based flatbread. Lepinje is flat and round, a cross between pita bread and naan. When it is baked in a brick oven the steam puffs it up and it becomes hollow inside. The cevapi is placed in the middle of the lebinje along with the vegetables, sour cream, tzatziki or cheese.
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 lb ground veal
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 3 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Mix the meat together with the onion, garlic and spices
- Roll the meat into small logs about 3 inches in length, the width of your thumb
- Roll them in the safflower oil and grill them on a greased BBQ, or saute in a frying pan, or even boil them
Serve with some or all of the following: sweet peppers, ajvar, cucumbers, tomatoes, sour cream, yogurt-based tzatziki, cottage cheese, bryndza, green onions, mustard, potatoes, chopped raw onion.
Place on a slice of fresh bread, kifle, in a pita or lepinje, and serve alongside a simple green salad. Best served with friends.